Pelicans guard Eric Gordon likely out rest of season

Associated Press photo by SUE OGROCKIPelicans guard Eric Gordon drives around Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha in October. Show caption
Associated Press photo by SUE OGROCKIPelicans guard Eric Gordon drives around Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha in October.

With the New Orleans Pelicans set to play the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, coach Monty Williams said he doesn’t expect starting guard Eric Gordon to play in any of the season’s final five games.

The Suns (46-31) are the first of three tough opponents in playoff positions the Pelicans are facing in the next eight days as the season comes to a close. New Orleans also plays two games each against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Gordon has been out since March 22 with tendinitis in his left knee, missing the past nine games.

“He’s getting evaluations on his knee,” Williams said after Tuesday’s practice. “I doubt that he’ll play any more this year, but that’s just me.”

Gordon is in the second year of a four-year, $54 million contract he signed, ironically with Phoenix, as a restricted free agent after the 2011-12 season. He is averaging 15.4 points per game, third on the team, having played in 64 games, his most since he played 78 in 2008-09 as a rookie with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Before the team left April 1 on its three-game road trip, Williams said he didn’t know if Gordon would play in any of the games but that he was going on the trip. After the first game in Denver on April 2, Gordon flew to Los Angeles, where he lives in the offseason, for evaluations by doctors. He did not accompany the team back to New Orleans.

Before the tendinitis flared up, he had missed three games in late December with a bruised right hip and one on March 12 because of illness.

He missed 40 games last season rehabbing his right knee and playing on a restriction in which he was held out of the second of games played on consecutive nights.

He played in just nine of 66 games during the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, in which he had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in February.

Gordon played for the last time on March 21 at the Atlanta Hawks. He came out of the game in the first quarter, did some stretches, then told head trainer Jon Ishop he would not be able to play any more in that game. He then placed ice bags on the knee.

Gordon has said before the road trip that he looked forward to returning.

“I just can’t say,” he said. “It’s hard to push off. There’s some pain. But it’s feeling better, and I look forward to ramping things up some time soon.”

Gordon’s situation comes at a time All-Star power forward Anthony Davis has been having back spasms but has been adamant about finishing the season. Davis’ movement clearly was restricted in Sunday’s loss at Portland. However, he waved off forward Luke Babbitt, who was set to check into the game to replace him.

Williams said he continues to monitor Davis’ situation.

“If a guy says he’s OK, but he doesn’t look the way that I know he’s supposed to look, then I take him out,” Williams said. “I did that against Utah (in the second game on the road trip).

“Structurally, everything is fine with his back. So, that doesn’t bother us as an organization. But you do reach a point where you start to ask yourself some questions, and we’ve done that.”

The Pelicans returned home on a five-game losing streak after dropping all three games on their recent trip. The past two losses have seen bad third quarters by the Pelicans, a nemesis of which they’d seemed to rid themselves.

“We haven’t been able to deal with runs effectively,” Williams said. “Teams, whether they’re up by a few points or down by a couple, we haven’t dealt with runs the way that I think we did in most of our games this season, especially in March.

“It seems that that third-quarter run is the one that’s really putting us in a hole.”

Phoenix, which is fighting for its playoff life in a cutthroat Western Conference playoff race, jumped on the Pelicans 37-24 in the third to snatch a victory in the teams’ first meeting on Nov. 5, shooting 7-of-10 on 3-pointers in the quarter.

On Friday at Portland, which is in the fifth spot, the Suns trailed by 10 in the third before narrowing it to one by quarter’s end. Phoenix then dominated the fourth.

On Sunday in Phoenix against second-seeded Oklahoma City, the Suns won in their best shooting performance of the season, 58.4 percent, in taking the season series 2-1.

Heading into Tuesday’s games, the Suns were in the eighth and final playoff spot, a half-game behind Dallas and just one game ahead of Memphis. They are two games behind sixth-place Golden State. Phoenix leads the series against New Orleans 3-0.

With the New Orleans Pelicans set to play the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, coach Monty Williams said he doesn’t expect starting guard Eric Gordon to play in any of the season’s final five games.

The Suns (46-31) are the first of three tough opponents in playoff positions the Pelicans are facing in the next eight days as the season comes to a close. New Orleans also plays two games each against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Gordon has been out since March 22 with tendinitis in his left knee, missing the past nine games.

“He’s getting evaluations on his knee,” Williams said after Tuesday’s practice. “I doubt that he’ll play any more this year, but that’s just me.”

Gordon is in the second year of a four-year, $54 million contract he signed, ironically with Phoenix, as a restricted free agent after the 2011-12 season. He is averaging 15.4 points per game, third on the team, having played in 64 games, his most since he played 78 in 2008-09 as a rookie with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Before the team left April 1 on its three-game road trip, Williams said he didn’t know if Gordon would play in any of the games but that he was going on the trip. After the first game in Denver on April 2, Gordon flew to Los Angeles, where he lives in the offseason, for evaluations by doctors. He did not accompany the team back to New Orleans.

Before the tendinitis flared up, he had missed three games in late December with a bruised right hip and one on March 12 because of illness.

He missed 40 games last season rehabbing his right knee and playing on a restriction in which he was held out of the second of games played on consecutive nights.

He played in just nine of 66 games during the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, in which he had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in February.

Gordon played for the last time on March 21 at the Atlanta Hawks. He came out of the game in the first quarter, did some stretches, then told head trainer Jon Ishop he would not be able to play any more in that game. He then placed ice bags on the knee.

Gordon has said before the road trip that he looked forward to returning.

“I just can’t say,” he said. “It’s hard to push off. There’s some pain. But it’s feeling better, and I look forward to ramping things up some time soon.”

Gordon’s situation comes at a time All-Star power forward Anthony Davis has been having back spasms but has been adamant about finishing the season. Davis’ movement clearly was restricted in Sunday’s loss at Portland. However, he waved off forward Luke Babbitt, who was set to check into the game to replace him.

Williams said he continues to monitor Davis’ situation.

“If a guy says he’s OK, but he doesn’t look the way that I know he’s supposed to look, then I take him out,” Williams said. “I did that against Utah (in the second game on the road trip).

“Structurally, everything is fine with his back. So, that doesn’t bother us as an organization. But you do reach a point where you start to ask yourself some questions, and we’ve done that.”

The Pelicans returned home on a five-game losing streak after dropping all three games on their recent trip. The past two losses have seen bad third quarters by the Pelicans, a nemesis of which they’d seemed to rid themselves.

“We haven’t been able to deal with runs effectively,” Williams said. “Teams, whether they’re up by a few points or down by a couple, we haven’t dealt with runs the way that I think we did in most of our games this season, especially in March.

“It seems that that third-quarter run is the one that’s really putting us in a hole.”

Phoenix, which is fighting for its playoff life in a cutthroat Western Conference playoff race, jumped on the Pelicans 37-24 in the third to snatch a victory in the teams’ first meeting on Nov. 5, shooting 7-of-10 on 3-pointers in the quarter.

On Friday at Portland, which is in the fifth spot, the Suns trailed by 10 in the third before narrowing it to one by quarter’s end. Phoenix then dominated the fourth.

On Sunday in Phoenix against second-seeded Oklahoma City, the Suns won in their best shooting performance of the season, 58.4 percent, in taking the season series 2-1.

Heading into Tuesday’s games, the Suns were in the eighth and final playoff spot, a half-game behind Dallas and just one game ahead of Memphis. They are two games behind sixth-place Golden State. Phoenix leads the series against New Orleans 3-0.

Anderson has surgery

Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson underwent a successful surgical procedure on his cervical spine this morning, the team announced. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins. Anderson is expected to resume basketball activities in 4-6 months.

In 22 games this season, Anderson averaged 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 36.1 minutes per game. The sixth-year veteran holds career averages of 12.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 357 games.