On Thursday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced that Omer Asik will be out for three weeks. The center is currently recovering from a strain in his right calf which he sustained during the team's Wednesday practice.
The statement about Asik's absence comes shortly after Alexis Ajinca was diagnosed with a hamstring strain that will keep him sidelined for about four to six weeks. Asik and Ajinca are the Pelican's 7-footer centers standing at 7 feet and 7 feet, 2 inches, respectively.
With the Pelicans slated for a regular season opener on October 27 against the Golden State Warriors, followed by matches the next day against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Warriors again on October 31, Asik will likely miss a few games early in the season.
While both of Asik and Ajinca's injuries seem comparatively benign, CBS Sports noted that the consequences could end up being troublesome for the team. Hamstring and calf injuries are said to be common conditions that players sustain during the season. The symptoms are especially aggravated on tall men who may find it difficult to balance with weakened leg muscles. As such, they may have to give enough time for proper recovery or risk ending up getting hurt again.
Asik, who hails from Turkey, has just entered his eighth season in the NBA. He already played for Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets with career averages of 5.9 points and 7.7 rebounds. The Pelicans center was drafted as 36th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers back in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Meanwhile, another player looks remarkably committed into making it to the team's lineup. New Zealand's Corey Webster reportedly paid for his own flight to New Orleans for a chance to compete for a roster spot with the Pelicans.
Webster's agent told the 26-year-old guard that New Orleans has taken interest while watching him play during the recent World Cup. ''They had seen me at the World Cup and in a series against Australia for the national team. They said they were interested and wanted to bring me over for workouts, but I had to pay my way to get here. I was willing to do that. I was willing to do anything for the opportunity. Now, I'm just loving it,'' Webster said.
Coach Alvin Gentry mentioned that he was impressed by Webster's commitment to the cause and described the Kiwi guard as the kind of person "you pull for." Gentry told The Times-Picayune that he thinks the player's initiative "speaks volumes about who he feels and bet on himself. He's a nice person and very competitive guy.''
Corey Webster will be competing against with forward Sean Kilpatrick and Jeff Adrien, guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, and guard-forward Chris Douglas-Roberts for the last two available roster spots. All of them were signed to non-guaranteed contracts.