Sunday, the Pelicans announced that star big man Anthony Davis would miss the rest of the season due to knee and shoulder injuries. A day later, Davis went one step further, admitting that he's played through torn labrum for the last three years, according to ESPN's Justin Verrier.
(Verrier later clarified that Davis' labrum was only partially torn and the Pelicans knew and accepted it because it's not unprecedented for players to fight through that injury).
Davis is scheduled to undergo two surgeries: one on his torn left shoulder and the other on his knee. Davis also said that he will miss the 2016 Olympics in Rio. His recovery time is expected to be four to five months, and it's unclear whether he'll be back for the beginning of training camp next season.
Davis also added that he did not plan on going under the knife for his torn labrum until he learned he'd need knee surgery, thus opening up a window of opportunity.
Anthony Davis was told that "eventually" he’d need shoulder surgery, and said that the issue gradually got worse.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) March 21, 2016
Still, the fact that Davis played through a shoulder injury for three entire seasons is yet another blemish on the Pelicans' much-maligned training and medical staff. Shooting guard Eric Gordon has missed 53 games over the past three years with various knee, shoulder and hand injuries. Fellow starting guard Tyreke Evans played just 25 games this season due to a right knee injury. He underwent surgery in the offseason and then again on the same knee in February. Point guard Jrue Holiday has played in just 137 games total since being traded to New Orleans three years ago, and many of those were under a self-imposed minutes limit. Starting small forward Quincy Pondexter has not played this year after toughing out on a left knee issue through the playoffs last season.
All in all, only four Pelicans players have suited up for more than 60 games this season. Those injuries derailed what most expected to be a team on the rise in the Western Conference. Davis finished the year averaging 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 49.5 percent from the field. The Pelicans, however, are just 26-43, the fourth-worst record in the NBA.
These injuries could also wind up costing Davis more than $24 million over the next five years due to CBA provision commonly known as the Derrick Rose Rule, which allows players on rookie contracts to earn a bonus on their next deal if they fulfill certain criteria. If a player has been named an All-Star starter twice, earned a spot on one of the three All-NBA teams twice OR been named MVP during their first four years in the NBA, they can be eligible for an extension starting at 30 percent of the cap instead of the normal 25 percent.
The only way Davis -- who signed a max contract last summer that won't kick in until July -- can earn this bump is if he's named to one of the three All-NBA teams this year, which would be his second time earning that honor. Missing the last 13 games of the season could impact how many All-NBA votes Davis receives.
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