this is a discussion within the Pelicans Community Forum; The New Orleans Pelicans have been ravaged by injuries this season, and they are now dealing with yet another as center Alexis Ajinca is on the mend from a fractured sternum. Continue for updates. Ajinca's Timetable for Return Not Yet ...
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|03-03-2016, 06:32 PM||#1|
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Alexis Ajinca Injury: Updates on Pelicans Center's Sternum and Return
The New Orleans Pelicans have been ravaged by injuries this season, and they are now dealing with yet another as center Alexis Ajinca is on the mend from a fractured sternum.
Continue for updates.
Ajinca's Timetable for Return Not Yet Set
Thursday, March 3
Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears reported Ajinca is out Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs and that the team has yet to determine how long the fracture will keep him out.
According to an official team statement, the injury occurred during the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's loss to the Houston Rockets.
The Pels signed Ajinca to a four-year contract this past offseason after two solid years in New Orleans as a reserve, but he's experienced some ups and downs this season in the midst of the team's overall struggles.
Ajinca missed the first few games of the season with a hamstring ailment, and it subsequently took some time for head coach Alvin Gentry to work him into the lineup on a regular basis, as evidenced by this tweet courtesy of ESPN's Kevin Pelton:
Per the Black and Blue Report (h/t Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com), however, inconsistent playing time is something Ajinca became accustomed to during the 2014-15 campaign:
I think I was impressed at how I was able to bounce back after sometimes not playing at all. I (had instances where) I'd get 20 points, and then the next game I was back on the bench. It was always up and down, but I was able to bounce back and stay strong mentally. I think it was more being mentally prepared every time before the game.The former 2008 then-Charlotte Bobcats first-round pick is currently averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 reboundsthis season, although he has never been one to put up big numbers as primarily a bench player.
Ajinca's value to the team goes beyond numbers, as his mere presence on the floor can alter the opposition's game plan at times.
The 7'2" Frenchman takes up a ton of space, and he has the ability to both block shots and rebound. In addition, he does much of the dirty work in the paint, which allows power forward Anthony Davis to focus on other areas.
If Ajinca is forced to miss some time, then the Pelicans will have to rely on the likes of Omer Asik and Kendrick Perkinsto replace what he usually brings to the table.
While Ajinca's potential absence won't exactly send shock waves through the NBA, it is another obstacle that the Pelicans must overcome during what has been a trying season.
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