Tyreke Evans targets December as potential return from knee surgery

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

The New Orleans Pelicans have known for months that they’ll be without the services of Tyreke Evans this fall, with Alvin Gentry saying on Zach Lowe’s podcast in July that the swingman “won’t be ready for the start of the season.” Entering his fourth season with New Orleans – and with unrestricted free agency beckoning next July – Evans’ return to the court remains uncertain, but he’s hoping to be back in the next few months.

“I’m trying to push for December, maybe the middle of December, to see how I’m feeling,” said Evans, who underwent successful right knee surgery in February. “Right now I’m just putting up shots, rehabbing, trying to get the strength back in my quads. My knee actually feels pretty good, and I’m not feeling the pain I was before, which is a good thing. We’ll see how I feel when I start running up and down (and playing fullcourt basketball).”

Last season, knee issues forced Evans to miss the first 17 games of the regular season; by the time he returned Dec. 1, the Pelicans were already in a deep hole at 4-13. He appeared in 25 of the next 27 games, but missed a pair of contests due to knee soreness and was limited in others, including three starts in which he logged fewer than 18 minutes. In his final appearance of the season, Jan. 25 vs. Houston, he played just 16 minutes before being replaced in the third quarter.

After undergoing February surgery and a period of recovery, he spent time in both New York City and Los Angeles to rehabilitate. Evans has rehabbed recently in the club’s Metairie practice facility, but is not cleared for basketball activity, so he’s been relegated to watching teammates in competitive intrasquad scrimmages. Ranked the No. 1 prospect in the country during his high school career in Pennsylvania, Evans has known new Pelicans players E’Twaun Moore (Indiana native) and Lance Stephenson (New York) since they were teenagers, competing against them on the AAU circuit.

“I’ve seen the scrimmages, and I like the way they all compete and they want to work on their games,” Evans said of the Pelicans and their group of new acquisitions. “Hopefully we get everybody healthy and are able to be a good team.”

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