Nothing counts during preseason except players being injured and waived.
The New Orleans Pelicans are 2-0 as they head into Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. However, the Pelicans already are starting to feel the injury pinch.
Small forward Darius Miller discovered while working out before training camp began that he had a stress fracture in his left foot. Guard Eric Gordon has yet to practice after having ankle surgery in May. Guard Brian Roberts sprained his right ankle during practice two days into camp.
Guard/forward Tyreke Evans sprained his left ankle three minutes into the second quarter of Saturday’s preseason opener at Houston. And power forward Anthony Davis was taken out of Monday’s exhibition game at Dallas after banging knees with one of the Mavericks, although he is OK.
“It’s training camp, and those things happen,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.
Gordon played in 42 games last season after having a patella injury before training camp last season. He played in nine games the season before, in which he had surgery, and won’t be seen anytime soon.
However, he has vowed to play a full schedule this season and not be under restrictions, like he was last season when he didn’t play in back-to-back games.
Williams was already looking down the road with Gordon before training camp began. Gordon, he said, needs to continue getting in condition. Williams gave a timetable that suggested Gordon likely won’t play until about the Oct. 19 game against the Washington Wizards in Lexington, Ky., at the earliest. It’s possible, though, that he won’t play until the season opener on Oct. 30 against the Indiana Pacers at New Orleans Arena.
“We’re going to take our time with Eric,” he said. “I think he’ll be more than ready for the (regular-season) opener, though.”
Williams said staying in communication with Gordon is the key.
“There’s a part of me that I have to push to make sure he’s doing the things necessary to … work at the pace where he needs to be ready,” Williams said.
He led the way as the Pelicans overcame a five-point deficit, getting a steal and layup that gave New Orleans the lead for good.
Davis came out of the game as a precaution after bumping knees, a common occurrence in basketball.
He practiced Tuesday morning.
In his first two games, Davis has proven to be a pain in the knee for opponents, scoring 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting against Houston and 25 on 11-of-19 shooting against Dallas.
Williams said Davis’ confidence is up heading into his second NBA season after being the first player selected in the 2012 draft.
“He’s not worried about making mistakes,” Williams said.
Evans is awaiting tests on his injured ankle after the team’s doctor flew in to examine him.
He sprained the ankle after landing awkwardly, but X-rays showed there were no broken bones, and an MRI was scheduled.
Evans has been in an walking boot since Monday but said he is optimistic he’ll return before the start of the regular season.
Having Gordon and Evans out likely will have a big effect on Williams’ plans for the preseason.
Williams said he was heading into the exhibitions with some rotation ideas and how he would divide minutes among a deep team.
He added that the games against live competition will tell him how viable those plans are.
Wednesday night’s game will be the preseason opener for the Magic, who feature former Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, the No. 2 overall pick in this season’s draft and in whom the Pelicans had some interest.
The Magic are starting preseason play four days after the Pelicans, which provided more time to put in its offense and defense.
They also open the season against the same opponent, the Pacers.
The Magic hosts Indiana on Oct. 29, with the Pelicans going against them Oct. 30 at New Orleans Arena.
After Wednesday night’s game, the Pelicans play the Atlanta Hawks at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center in Biloxi, Miss.
The Pelicans will host a select-a-seat event from 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the newly renovated New Orleans Arena.
Fans can select seat locations for ticket packages, including five-game, 12-game, half-season and full-season deals.
Tickets are available online at Pelicans.com; by phone at (800) 462-2849; at the Pelicans box office at 5800 Airline Drive, Metairie; or at TicketMaster outlets.
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