Not long ago, I wrote about how power forward Jason Smith could find some minutes in the frontcourt rotation of the New Orleans Pelicans. Though the Pelicans have a solid duo of power forwards in Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, Davis could be moving to the five some, leaving a handful of minutes to be had and Smith is a prime candidate to snatch them.
However, Smith is going to have to get the go-ahead from his doctor before that happens. Smith went down at the end of February/beginning of March in this past season with a torn labrum, ending the year for him. According to a report from Jim Eichenhofer of the Pelicans’ official website, Smith has not yet been cleared to play in games or even cleared for contact.
The Pelicans need to do everything in their power that doesn’t jeopardize the health or longevity of Smith to get him cleared and ready to play soon, though. As of right now, the only true centers on the Pelicans’ roster are Greg Stiemsma and Jeff Withey, which is why many are talking about Davis possibly seeing minutes at the five.
If Davis is pushed to center, though, and Anderson needs a blow, Smith is a great option for the Pelicans off of the bench. He always plays with energy and brings solid things to the table on offense. Moreover, his size would help create matchup advantages for New Orleans, especially playing alongside a lengthy player like Davis.
Ultimately, there’s no telling with how quickly players will recover from injuries and if Smith’s recovery lasts until the start of the season, it won’t be the end of this team. However, it would be to their benefit if he gets cleared to play in the near future.