Anthony Davis' season is officially over, according to his head coach. The Pelicans' star will sit out the team's final 14 games after sustaining knee and shoulder injuries, Alvin Gentry announced Sunday.
Davis has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, according to John Reid of Nola.com, and is set to undergo two surgeries -- one on the shoulder and one on his left knee, according to Jennifer Hale of Fox Sports.
Davis has suffered a number of minor injuries throughout his career and bounced back quickly from them, but with the Pelicans (25-43) far from the playoff picture, the team is prioritizing his long-term health. The last straw occurred on Friday when Portland's C.J. McCollum and teammate Jrue Holiday connected with Davis' left knee in the team's loss to the Blazers on Friday. Gentry had previously revealed that Davis was playing through a shoulder ailment.
The news cuts short a frustrating season for the rising NBA star. Following a superlative 2014-15 and a strong performance against the Warriors in the playoffs, many -- including us -- believed the 23-year-old was a leading candidate to win MVP and push New Orleans to the next level.
Instead, Davis' teammates suffered a never-ending string of injuries, forcing him to carry too heavy a load. His numbers (24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds on 49.5 percent shooting) are in line with his per-game averages from last year, but he's struggled defensively and failed to lift his Pelicans teammates to new heights. New Orleans lost 11 of its first 12 games and never recovered to mount a serious playoff push.
Davis' injury could also potentially cost him more than $24 million over the life of his next contract due to a unique quirk in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. During the 2011 lockout, the league and the players association agreed on a clause that allowed players on rookie contracts to earn a bonus on their next deal if they achieved certain honors. This is commonly known as the Derrick Rose Rule, a term our Tom Ziller coined back in 2011. (That's because Rose was the only eligible player the year the provision was enacted).
Normally, players can sign a rookie contract extension for up to 25 percent of the salary cap. However, if a player achieves the following honors during their first four years, they can be eligible for a deal starting at 30 percent of the cap instead. To be eligible, they must have either:
- Been named an All-Star starter twice
- Been named to one of the three All-NBA teams twice
- Been named MVP