Pelicans Notes: Nance, Assets, Valanciunas, Zion

Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. appears to have avoided a major injury after leaving Monday’s loss to Indiana in the third quarter due to a knee problem. As Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes, Nance’s left knee hyperextended while he was attempting to grab a rebound and there was some initial fear that he had torn a ligament. However, further testing seemed to indicate there’s no significant damage.

“I just went to step, and it bent a direction it shouldn’t go,” Nance said, per Lopez. “Thankfully, we’re not worried about any ligament damage. We’re not worried about meniscus.

“It’s just one of those things that you do, and as someone who has torn their ACL before (while in college at Wyoming), it’s scary. It hurts. I just wanted to make sure I got it checked out. It’s sore, but we’ve avoided anything big-time.”

Nance is considered day-to-day and hasn’t been ruled out for the Pelicans’ game on Wednesday in Chicago.

“We’re going to ice it, do some treatment,” he said after Monday’s game. “And tonight, we told (head coach) Willie (Green) that if he needed me I was available to go back in. We’re gonna do some treatment and see how it responds tomorrow. But positive news.”

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Already a solid playoff contender, the Pelicans still control 13 first-round picks in the next seven drafts and have more roster depth than they know what to do with, signaling that there’s a trade to be made, argues Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. While teams like Utah and Oklahoma City have more draft assets, they’re not in win-now mode like New Orleans is, so the Pels are in position to outbid virtually any contending team if an impact player becomes available.
  • An underrated part of a talented Pelicans roster that features stars Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and CJ McCollum, veteran center Jonas Valanciunas spoke to Mark Medina of about his role, building chemistry with Williamson, and how he has evolved to adapt to the modern-day NBA. Valanciunas is averaging a double-double (14.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG) for a fourth straight season despite playing a modest 24.7 minutes per game.
  • In a conversation with Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports, Williamson discussed his attempts to tune out criticism about his weight and his belief that he still has plenty of room to continue growing and improving as a player. “There’s a lot of abilities that I have that I haven’t showcased,” Williamson said. “There’s abilities that I’ll show when I’m practicing or playing one-on-one, (but) in a game, I’ll be so in my head where I want to be this perfectionist or I’ll want to feel that I can make every shot I take that I won’t shoot my (mid-range jumper) or I won’t shoot my three. I’m capable of doing all of that and more. It’s just I gotta get out of this perfectionist mindset.”
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