New Orleans Pelicans guard/forward Tyreke Evans, who has missed the last two games with a sprained left ankle, said he plans to return in Saturday’s game against Golden State at New Orleans Arena.
Evans intimated that the injury is a little more serious than disclosed earlier, saying he also has a bone bruise in the ankle.
“It’s feeling a little better,” he said after Wednesday morning’s shoot-around as the Pelicans prepared to meet the Houston Rockets. “I’ve been working with (Pelicans head trainer Jon Ishop), just a little laser (stimulation), ultrasound, things like that, just trying to get the bone bruise cleared up a little bit.”
This is the third time this season Evans’ left ankle has been sprained, although he said his ankles are taped before each game. It was sprained in the first preseason game, but he returned for the final one. He sprained it again in the first half of the home game against Memphis on Dec. 13, didn’t play in the second half, then missed two games.
Evans sat out the second half against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday at the Arena and missed the next two games, against the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday and Monday’s home game against San Antonio.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve turned the same ankle twice in one year.”
Although he played in 12 games after the ankle was injured against Memphis, Evans said he may have rushed back too soon.
The ankle may have been re-injured, he said, at Boston on Jan. 3.
“At the Boston game, it just started feeling real sore, and I couldn’t push off,” he said.
He played in four more games, but has been receiving treatment “to clean it out,” he said.
Evans said he will workout on the court to test the ankle before determining if he’ll play Saturday.
The Pelicans are playing without Evans, point guard Jrue Holiday and forward Ryan Anderson, the team’s leading scorer. Holiday has a fractured right tibia and said he’ll be out a month. Anderson, whose fifth and sixth vertebrae are herniated, will be out two months before a determination is made concerning possible surgery on his neck. He could miss the rest of the season.
The combined scoring average of those three is 56.7 points per game. Without them, the Pelicans have averaged 93.0 points the past five games, and they have lost six in a row.
Guard Austin Rivers, who along with new starter Brian Roberts has attempted to pick up the slack in the back court, said Evans would provide a big boost.
“That just adds another dimension to our team, another scorer,” Rivers said. “That’s another reason we need to get stops, with Tyreke on the floor. That way, we can get him the ball in transition. That’s his go-to.
“His thing is, in transition, he’s like unstoppable.”
Evans, however, said he’ll miss Anderson, one of the league’s best 3-point shooters, and Holiday, noted for his defense as well as his scoring.
“It’s tough, especially the guys who went down,” Evans said. “Jrue and Ryan are big parts of the team. Ryan helps us out with spacing, and Jrue does a good job of running the show.
“We’ve just got to get better and come back.”