Free agent guard Lance Stephenson is ahead of his schedule and could be ready from a groin tear by mid-January, barring a setback, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Pelicans waived Stephenson in early November after he suffered the injury. The Pelicans drew criticism at the time for the move, but it seemed like the team would be open to re-signing him when he gets healthy. Stephenson was expected to miss about 10 weeks following his groin surgery in early November, so Haynes’ reports suggests his return is a couple weeks ahead of schedule. Stephenson, who won a roster spot after the preseason, averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 assists in 27 minutes per game in six contests this season.
Here is more from around the league:
- Cameron Payne has been assigned to the D-League for the next few days to complete his rehab and his unofficial targeted return date is January 7th, Royce Young of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Payne has yet to make his 2016/17 debut for the Thunder because of a broken foot.
- Lakers backup center Tarik Black is available to play, but has not been on the court since mostly recovering from an ankle injury suffered in early December because coach Luke Walton wants to ease him into the rotation, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times relays. Black was was an integral part of the Lakers’ second unit before his injury, as Ganguli points out, so once Black is fully healthy, it would seem reasonable to expect a return to action.