You knew it wasn’t good when he had to be taken off the court in a stretcher, you just wonder now if the Pelicans playoff hopes were carted off with him.
The Pelicans’ leading scorer Ryan Anderson will be out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his back, the team announced Tuesday. The injury occurred Friday night in Boston when Gerald Wallace tried to steal an inbounds pass and collided with him. Anderson had been in a Boston area hospital since then getting tests.
Anderson, arguably the best stretch four in the NBA right now, was averaging 19.8 points a game this season and hitting 40.9 percent from three, but it had been a rough season for him. He had a fractured toe and missed time to start the season, plus he emotionally had to deal with the suicide of his girlfriend in the offseason.
Here’s where it gets bad for the Pelicans hopes of climbing up into the playoffs — they are 12-10 when he plays and 3-7 when he is out this season. New Orleans is currently the 11 seed in the West at 15-17, three games out of the final playoff spot in the conference. It will be hard to make up any of that ground (and not lose more) with Anderson out for an extended period.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
Buddy Hield: Vivek Ranadive told me at Kings-Pelicans games, ‘We’re still going to get you’