The 2015-2016 NBA season is in full swing but while the Golden State Warriors is dominating the season in the first week, some teams are struggling with injuries and with that, probably their hopes.
The New Orleans Pelicans has lost their veteran center Kendrick Perkins after sustaining a pectoral injury in the first quarter in the team 134-120 loss to the Golden State Warriors Saturday night. The injury is a big blow for the Pelicans doctors said Perkins will be out indefinitely, ESPN said.
New Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is forced to improvise with his lineup and on-court assignments as he copes with the injury issues in the point guard and center positions. Combo forward Dante Cunningham even joked that he is willing to slide down to ballhandler if the situation calls for it.
He told NBA.com after Monday's practice, "I'll bring the ball down the court. I'll do it the old-school (way) and back (the defender) down all (94 feet) with my butt. However, we've got to do it."
Aside from Perkins, Omer Asik, who returned from a right calf injury during the game against the Warriors, is also unsure if he is fit to play against the Magic. Asik was supposed to start at center in this season. He played for just 10 minutes during Saturday's game and did not attend Monday's practice.
Gentry commented, "We'll have to see. It's one of those things where if he feels good tomorrow, we'll see. But that's not a definite."
If Asik didn't play against Orlando, it would leave the Pelicans with only one nominal center, Alexis Ajinca, though Anthony Davis has played the position sporadically (17 percent of his career minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com).
At point guard, New Orleans is without Tyreke Evans (knee) and Norris Cole (ankle), while starter Jrue Holiday is on a 25-minute restriction per game. One piece of positive news is that number has steadily increased from 10 at the outset of the preseason. As a result, recently-signed Pelicans point guards Ish Smith and Toney Douglas have been forced into major minutes, despite having little practice or preparation time.
Also having issues with injuries are the Sacramento Kings who announced that center DeMarcus Cousins will miss the next two games to rest his strained right Achilles, according to Sports Illustrated.
New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis sustained a strained neck in their loss to the San Antonio Spurs, while Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith suffered a knee contusion against the Philadelphia 76ers with a right knee contusion.
A separate report by Sports Illustrated said that Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has confirmed that point guard Derrick Rose may be cleared to begin activities within a week and could return to playing soon. Rose sustained a broken orbital bone at practice on Sept. 29 and underwent surgery.