And-Ones: Ajinca, Dawson, Lawson

Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca, who is dealing with a fractured sternum he suffered on March 2nd, hopes to return to action this season, but he is still experiencing significant discomfort, Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com writes. “It’s still painful,” Ajinca said. “I’m still trying to catch my breath sometimes. But it’s getting better. I started shooting. I’m hoping to come back soon, but I’m still dealing with the pain, so we’ll see how far I have till I come back.

Ajinca wants to help out his injury-depleted team by returning to the court, but he also needs to weigh his desire to play versus long-term health concerns, Eichenhofer relays. “I’m trying to come back, because sitting on the side is not really my thing. I don’t like doing that,” Ajinca said. “I’m trying to come back before the end of the season. But on the other hand, I’m also trying to be healthy and not jeopardizing my health if I’m coming back too early. I hope I can come back soon and have a pad on [the injury to protect it]. Hopefully it won’t be too painful if I get hit again.” The big man is in the first year of the four-year, $20.2MM deal he inked last July.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Clippers rookie Branden Dawson has spent the bulk of his rookie season in the D-League, only making three NBA appearances on the campaign, but the small forward believes this will help his development in the long run, Rowan Kavner of NBA.com writes. “Just a better opportunity and just playing more,” Dawson said about his D-League time. “The first time I went down, when I went to Bakersfield, it was different. I didn’t know what to expect going down for the first time. Now, I’m a lot more confident and I’m playing more. The main thing is to get better. The reason why guys go down is to get better. The first two times, I learned a lot from the coaches I played with, the different programs. The main thing is to just come down and get better.
  • A number of teams had interest in point guard Ty Lawson after he reached a buyout agreement with the Rockets, including the Bucks and the Jazz, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports tweets.  Lawson subsequently signed with the Pacers because he wanted to catch on with a new team quickly and he believed Indiana was a perfect fit for his skills, Agness adds.
  • Shelvin Mack has impressed the Jazz with his solid play since arriving in a trade deadline deal from Atlanta, and he’s provided the stability the team sought after losing starter Dante Exum for the year with a torn ACL in his left knee, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “I think he’s making a good transition,” coach Quin Snyder said. “A lot of that is a compliment to Bud [Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer] and his staff and their team … and to him, of course.

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