Eric Gordon starting for Pelicans after 16-game absence

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says guard Eric Gordon will return from a 16-game absence against Minnesota on Saturday night.

Gordon has not played since fracturing his right ring finger against the Timberwolves on Jan. 19. Gordon says he’s playing with a small, stabilizing brace on his finger but hasn’t had trouble getting shots up in practice.

Gordon has averaged 14.9 points per game this season and is among the Pelicans’ top perimeter shooters, hitting 101 3-pointers this season.

Gentry says the type of injury Gordon had allowed him to maintain his conditioning and that he’ll be inserted back into the starting lineup immediately.

Gordon says he’s eager to return to a team that has won five of seven games and still has hope of making the playoffs.