The Pelicans have confirmed in a press release that point guard Elfrid Payton will undergo surgery to repair his broken left pinky finger, and have provided a recovery timeline. According to the team, Payton is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks.
Payton, who signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Pelicans over the offseason, looked like a bargain in the early going, helping lead his new team to four straight wins to open the season. In those four games, he averaged 14.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 7.0 APG with a .511/.429/.636 shooting line in 32.0 MPG.
However, Payton left his fifth game early with an ankle sprain, missed New Orleans’ next nine games, then played just eight minutes in his return to action before breaking his finger. The Pelicans are just 5-7 in the games that Payton has missed or departed early.
With Payton sidelined, Jrue Holiday will see more time at the point, with Ian Clark, Tim Frazier, and Frank Jackson also in the mix. The Pelicans have liked to play Holiday off the ball over the last couple years, so it will be interesting to see if the team makes an effort to add another ball-handler in Payton’s absence. New Orleans doesn’t currently have an open roster spot, though one of the club’s two-way slots is available.
If Payton is able to get back on the court exactly six weeks from today, he’d be on track to return on December 31 against Minnesota, having missed 21 more games.