Report: Lance Stephenson ahead of schedule on recovery, could play by mid-January

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Lance Stephenson was playing well and had become a vital part of the Pelicans rotation early on — he got 27 minutes a night averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game. They needed his shot creation.

Then he tore his groin muscle and needed surgery. The Pelicans were already shorthanded (at the time Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, and Quincy Pondexter were all out) so they waived Stephenson to create a roster spot so they could sign Archie Goodwin.

But Stephenson is making a quicker than expected recovery, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

It’s likely a few teams would have interest in him, he played well in New Orleans, although some teams may be cautious because of Stephenson’s reputation as disruptive to team chemistry (a reputation he says is undeserved). He had not landed a contract over the summer and came to training camp in New Orleans trying to play his way onto the team — and he did. Someone will give him another chance, though likely on a minimum contract (possibly with team options for next season).