NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Hornets backup center/power forward Jason Smith will miss the rest of the season with a torn right labrum, coach Monty Williams said before Friday’s home game against the Detroit Pistons.
Williams also announced rookie starting forward Anthony Davis would miss his second consecutive game Friday night with a bone bruise in his left shoulder.
Smith has had his shoulder injury since Dec. 12, after he tried to block a dunk attempt by Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant in a game in Oklahoma City. Ironically, Smith sat out the Hornets’ game Wednesday in Oklahoma City after Williams intervened.
“Just watching him in the locker room in Oklahoma City, usually Jason is focused on the game, but I could just tell he was thinking about his shoulder,” Williams said. “With the way he plays the game, there’s no way he could have finished the season with that injury. We just felt that it’s best if he gets the surgery done now so he can be ready for the start of next season.”
Smith is scheduled for surgery next week.
Smith and Davis were at Friday morning’s shoot-around, but neither took part.
Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft, appeared to hyperextend his left arm while battling for a rebound during the third quarter of Tuesday’s home game against Brooklyn.
He left with 4½ minutes remaining in the quarter and did not return. He did not accompany the team to Oklahoma City, and the Hornets said the injury is a sprained shoulder and that his status is day-to-day.
Smith averaged 8.2 points and 3.6 rebounds, but his impact was much more. His physical style, competitiveness and versatility made him one of the more popular players among teammates and fans, and his play was often infectious among the Hornets.
Ryan Anderson, who leads the NBA in 3-pointers made with 168, headed up the team’s second unit with Smith, whose abilities in pick-and-pop plays were key for the team. Anderson said duplicating what Smith brought to the team will be difficult.
“It’s going to have a huge effect on the team,” Anderson said. “Obviously you can’t make up the things he brings to the team, his effort, his energy right off the get-go with that second group. We’ll miss his vocal leadership, especially on defense, which we need, and his scoring.”
Williams said he would try to fill Smith’s vacancy with small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who played power forward in college, but many will have to step up he said. Williams said he was concerned about center Robin Lopez having to log extra minutes.
Smith often has missed practices or, Anderson said, sat out drills because the shoulder was bothering him. He has had an assortment of ailments this season, including an injury to his left shoulder during training camp and hand and leg ailments.
Still, he had missed just seven games, which came after the December injury, before sitting out Wednesday.
Davis incurred a mild concussion two games into the season and missed two games, then missed 11 games in late November and early December with a stress reaction in his left ankle.
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