The Pelicans have been without reserve center Alexis Ajinca all season and that isn’t likely to change for the rest of the year. As Christian Boutwell of the New Orleans Advocate writes, the 29-year-old underwent knee surgery on his right patellar tendon and is expected to miss four to six months.
While the news may not come as a surprise to the franchise, it’s an added blow to a team that has struggled to keep its big men healthy. Ajinca averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season, but that’s of little help when he can’t stay on the floor.
Ajinca has failed to play 70 games in each of his seven NBA seasons and that doesn’t include this lost campaign or the two years he bounced around Europe from 2011-2013. He has appeared in over 60 games just once.
The Pels will pay Ajinca $5MM this season – the third year of a four-year, $20MM deal he signed with the team back in 2015 – and will give him a slight raise up to $5.3MM in 2018/19.