Luke Babbitt out tonight but may return for regular season opener at Golden State

by Jim Eichenhofer

Those who arrived early to the Smoothie King Center prior to Friday’s preseason game vs. Miami were treated to an encouraging sight, with several sidelined Pelicans working out on the court two-plus hours before tip-off. Although none of those injured Pelicans will play tonight vs. Miami, Luke Babbitt, Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik and Quincy Pondexter were all getting a sweat going alongside the team’s assistant coaches.

Babbitt (left hamstring strain) was upgraded to questionable on this morning’s injury report but will be held out of Friday’s preseason finale. However, Alvin Gentry said the combo forward could potentially be available Tuesday for the 2015-16 regular season opener against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

“He’s feeling pretty good right now. He won’t play tonight, but we’re hoping that maybe we’ll have him ready for the opening game,” Gentry said. “All those guys are working extremely hard to get back. It’s one of those time things – you can’t rush it. You don’t want to do something ridiculous, where you bring them back early and all of a sudden they’re hurt again. We’ll err on the side of sit out a game or two extra (instead of) trying to bring them back early.”

Other notes from pregame:

  • Gentry on the progress of Asik (right calf strain): “He is progressing. He’s doing a couple minor things on the court right now. He’s working and looking better. It’s just a time thing where he has to have time to heal.
  • Babbitt’s status being finalized as a no-go tonight means the Pelicans will only have 11 players available vs. Miami. The six reserves are expected to be Jeff Adrien, Ryan Anderson, rookie Bryce Dejean-Jones, Alonzo Gee, rookie Bo McCalebb and Nate Robinson.
  • Gentry on his perspective about dealing with injuries: “It’s all part of the NBA. You look around the league, there are a lot of injuries. We’ll have to get them back and probably do a little overtime work as far as getting reps offensively and understanding what we’re trying to do defensively.”

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