The New Orleans Pelicans got the win Sunday night against the New York Knicks, but they lost something much more valuable. Star forward Anthony Davis suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand, and the Pelicans have not yet determined a potential return date. Davis was the 1st overall pick in last year’s draft, and he was averaging 18.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 3.6 BPG this season.
Davis is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA, and he was on track to make the first of what figures to be many All-Star teams this season. Davis said after the game that he hopes this is a short term injury, but based on the history of players with broken hands, he figures to be out at least a month.
The Pelicans have to hope that Davis returns soon, because their playoff hopes will be crippled without him. The Pelicans are currently 8-8 and just outside the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference that has only three teams with a losing record. Obviously it is still very early in the season, but there is simply no margin for error in the West. If the Pelicans go on a slide over the next month or so without Davis, they may never have a chance to recover upon his return.
This injury shouldn’t have any impact on Davis’ development or the long term plans of the Pelicans, but they were hoping to fight their way to a playoff spot this season. Unless Davis returns very quickly, they will have a very difficult time accomplishing that goal. This is a very unfortunate setback for the Pelicans, as their young talent has been starting to gel. The Pelicans have won five of their last seven, and Davis’ ascension to the ranks of superstars is well under way.
However, it appears that all that will temporarily be placed on hold, and the Pelicans are most likely going to struggle without their star. This is a bad break for a promising young team, and it could force them to wait one more year to become a playoff team.