Report: Pelicans’ medical staff panned for being too football-centric

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Anthony Davis said the hardest part of being in the NBA is not knowing how good his Pelicans would have been if not for injuries.

But maybe New Orleans injury issues during Davis’ tenure are more than just bad luck.

Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports:

This pattern isn’t a total anomaly if you ask rival team executives, who have long chided the Pelicans’ medical team for being run by “football guys” instead of those who have experience in the NBA. Fair or not, the Pelicans are fighting against a league-wide perception.

“The organization only cares about the Saints,” one league exec told NBC Sports.

I highly recommend reading Haberstroh’s piece in full, both for more information about New Orleans’ football-minded medical staff and a delightful New Orleans-Charlotte comparison.

Gayle Benson – previously, her late husband, Tom Benson – owns both the NBA Pelicans and NFL Saints. Both teams share staff, most prominently Mickey Loomis, who’s an executive vice president for both teams.

In the most infamous example, the Saints fired Dr. Misty Suri for misdiagnosing cornerback Delvin Breaux’s injury in 2017. Suri remains the Pelicans’ Director of Medical Services, though.

Assessing medical staffs is difficult. Which injuries should be avoided? Which are bad luck? When every individual recovers differently, what’s the appropriate amount of time for someone to miss with an injury? There’s so much gray area.

Ultimately, the most important assessment might belong to Davis. If he feels the Saints are wrongly prioritized or the Pelicans’ medical staff just isn’t good enough, it could be a factor in him leaving New Orleans. I believe he wants to find a team where he can win, and keeping players healthy is a huge part of winning.