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There’s a saying that things tend to happen in threes. That statement was true this week as not one, not two, but three Hoosiers missed games because of injuries. This week I will give you the details of the injuries suffered by Eric Gordon, Victor Oladipo, and Cody Zeller and how soon it will be before Gordon and Zeller return to the court and how it will affect Oladipo’s play the next few weeks:
Eric Gordon: Guard, New Orleans Pelicans:
@ Memphis (L 101-99): 10 points (2-7 FG)(4-4 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, 3 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 37 minutes.
Vs Minnesota (W 114-99): 11 points (4-9 FG), rebound, 3 assists, steal, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 25 minutes.
Vs Detroit (W 115-99): DNP – injury
Vs Milwaukee (W 116-99): DNP – injury
Eric Gordon’s consistent health, playing for a team that has suffered an injury at every other position, almost seemed too good to be true. Now Gordon will be on the sidelines for the next four to six weeks with a fractured ring finger on his shooting hand.
The good news is that it seems the surgery was successful, but the bad news is that this slate of missed games continues a terrible trend for Gordon. Since arriving in New Orleans, Gordon has missed a combined 137 games due to injury, including 21 last season, before this latest injury. Gordon had played in 82 consecutive games for the Pelicans dating back to last year and is the only player this season to have started at least 40 games for the New Orleans Pelicans. This has also come at the worst possible time as his chances of being traded away to a playoff contender have probably vanished. There’s still a small chance a team offers something for Gordon, but a team rarely trades for player at the trade deadline who is not able to play immediately. If that is the case, then it’s a good sign the Pelicans are on a winning streak and still have chance, if this play keeps up, to make the playoffs.
Victor Oladipo: Guard, Orlando Magic:
@ Atlanta (L 98-81): DNP – injury
Vs Philadelphia (L 96-87): DNP – injury
Vs Charlotte (L 120-116 OT): 29 points (11-19 FG)(2-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, 4 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 42 minutes.
Victor Oladipo surprised me and quite a few other people when he returned to the court for the Orlando Magic’s game against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. After all, Oladipo did just suffer a knee injury in the fourth quarter of the Magic’s game against the Toronto Raptors last week when the two teams faced off in London. It was an injury that head coach Scott Skiles thought would take up to three weeks to heal.
Oladipo looked pretty good against the Hornets, scoring 29 points in the Magic’s overtime loss. There was a little worry he might have been pushing himself to play the game but he was healthy enough to play 42 minutes in the contest. It will be interesting to see if soreness in his knee catches up to him as the Magic are set to play five games in the next eight days. If he is in fact healthy and can continue to shoot at a good percentage, that is a good sign because Orlando needs him as the Magic have now lost nine of their last ten games.
Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:
@ Washington (W 108-98): 2 points (1-3 FG), 9 rebounds, assist, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 17 minutes.
Vs Atlanta (L 104-98): 7 points (3-4 FG), 4 rebounds, block, 2 personal fouls, 15 minutes.
Vs Los Angeles Lakers (W 121-103): 11 points (5-6 FG)( 1-2 FT), 6 rebounds, assist, 3 steals, turnover, 5 personal fouls, 25 minutes.
Noah Vonleh was the only one out of the four Hoosiers playing in the NBA to come away from this week perfectly healthy. What’s even more encouraging is that Vonleh is playing very well lately, averaging 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in the month of January compared to 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds over the first two months of the season.
It still looks like we are a ways away from Vonleh making a big breakout but, as long as he avoids injuries and continues to improve with the playing time he is given, that moment should come sooner rather than later.
Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:
Vs Utah (W 124-119): 14 points (4-9 FG)(6-8 FT), 6 rebounds, assist, block, turnover, 5 personal fouls, 42 minutes.
@ Oklahoma City (L 109-95): 3 points (0-3 FG)(3-4 FT), 2 rebounds, steal, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 14 minutes.
@ Orlando (W 120-116 OT): DNP – injury
Vs New York (W 97-84): DNP – injury
Cody Zeller was the last of the Hoosiers to get injured this week when he sprained a ligament in his right shoulder during the Charlotte Hornets’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
There was some thought that Zeller would return this week but the team reported during this past weekend that at the minimum he will be out for this upcoming week. This is a big blow for a team that is already without Al Jefferson and has had to start Spencer Hawes at center the past two games. That being said, it might be just as big of a blow for Zeller. While Zeller has probably already proven with his recent play that he is the Hornets’ starting center going forward, he still has a lot of things to work on if he’s going to be a successful NBA center. One of those things is defending against bigger centers and not letting them push Zeller around. With a shoulder injury, you can’t rush back onto the court because that type of injury can take away some of the strength one would need to compete in the post. Hopefully he’s able to recover quickly so he continue improving his post defense against bigger defenders.
Eric Gordon: 14.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.7apg, 0.95spg, 0.29bpg, 1.6tpg, 2.2fpg, 41.0% FG, 37.7% 3FG, 89.0% FT, 33.4mpg.
Victor Oladipo: 13.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.29spg, 0.63bpg, 2.2tpg, 2.3fpg, 41.2% FG, 36.1% 3FG, 81.6% FT, 30.3mpg.
Noah Vonleh: 3.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 0.5apg, 0.50spg, 0.24bpg, 0.6tpg, 2.0fpg, 42.0% FG, 17.4% 3FG, 81.3% FT, 15.8mpg.
Cody Zeller: 9.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 0.9apg, 0.88spg, 0.70bpg, 0.9tpg, 3.0fpg, 49.6% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 73.6% FT, 24.8mpg.