NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Pelicans point guard Greivis Vasquez had surgery Friday to remove bone spurs in his right ankle, the team said.
Dr. Richard Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Los Angeles performed the surgery.
Early reports said Vasquez would have surgery on both ankles. He will begin rehabilitation immediately and resume basketball activities this summer.
He is the second Pelicans starting guard to have an ankle procedure done in the past two weeks. Shooting guard Eric Gordon had loose particles removed to relieve discomfort May 10 in Los Angeles.
Vasquez missed just four games this past season, and each time it was because of an ankle injury. He badly injured his right ankle early in the fourth quarter of a game at Sacramento on April 10.
He missed the next game April 12 against the Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Arena, but returned for the team’s game April 15 against the Dallas Mavericks. He struggled with the ankle in that game and was held out of the season finale on April 17 at Dallas.
Vasquez said near the end of the season that he had ankle issues since training camp. He, however, had his best season as a pro, finishing second in the voting for Most Improved Player.
In his third year after being drafted in the first round from Maryland, he was a starter for the first time. He averaged 13.9 points, 9.0 assists — which ranked third in the NBA — 4.3 rebounds, and shot 43.3 percent on field goals, including 34.2 on 3-point attempts and 80.5 percent on free throws.
Coming into the season, he had averaged 6.2 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds. The team, which had obtained him in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies before the 2011-12 season, picked up the option on his contract for next season.
Perhaps Vasquez’s most notable ankle injury, to his left one, occurred in practice on Sunday, March 25. The team played the Denver Nuggets the next day, and the availability of Vasquez, the ankle badly sprained, was a game-time time decision.
He tried to convince Coach Monty Williams that he could play.
“He came in with the ankle taped and with a brace,” Williams said. “I just said ‘No.’ Greivis is a Warrior, but sometimes you’ve got to be these guys’ brains.”
Backup point guard Brian Roberts had 13 points and a team season-high 18 assists in leading a stunning victory against the Nuggets, who entered on a 13-game winning streak. Vasquez returned for the next game against the Los Angeles Clippers but was woefully ineffective, scoring no points and getting four assists and turning the ball over three times in 28 minutes.
Vasquez said he made a mistake playing in that game.
“I injured a tendon in my (left) foot,” he said. “I’ve got to be smarter and not force things and hurt the team when I’m injured.”