Brandon Ingram

Pelicans Notes: Ingram, Zion, McCollum, Hayes

The Pelicans may not have either of their star forwards available as they begin what could be the most important stretch of their season, writes Christian Clark of NOLA. Zion Williamson will be sidelined until at least March 22 with a strained right hamstring, and Brandon Ingram is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game after spraining his right ankle on Wednesday.

“(Ingram’s) done some pool work today,” coach Willie Green said Friday. “He’s done some work on the floor. He’ll be questionable tomorrow.”

Currently 10th in the West at 32-34, the Pelicans will play three games in the next four days against teams close to them in the standings. After hosting the Thunder tonight, New Orleans will face the Trail Blazers on Sunday and the Lakers on Tuesday.

There’s more on the Pelicans:

  • While Ingram and Williamson have both missed more games than they’re played this season, CJ McCollum‘s durability has helped New Orleans stay afloat, Clark adds. McCollum has fought through multiple illnesses and recently began wearing a splint because of an injured right thumb, but he has appeared in 59 of the Pelicans’ 66 games. “CJ has been a warrior for us all season,” Green said. “Like you said, he has played through being sick. Playing through the thumb injury, which we know. He understands the magnitude of our games coming up. We’re leaning on him a ton.”
  • Williamson hasn’t played since January 2, but a source close to the situation tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that the team still expects him to return before the regular season ends. Williamson was averaging 26 points per game before the injury, and his presence could have a major impact on the playoff race.
  • A sprained ankle that sidelined Larry Nance Jr. has created more playing time for Jaxson Hayes, Clark notes in another NOLA story. Hayes hasn’t become the player the Pelicans thought he would when they selected him with the eighth pick in the 2019 draft, but he sometimes shows why the team was so high on him. He had 14 points in 24 minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Mavericks, making all six of his shots and closing down the lane against Dallas on defense. New Orleans considered trades involving Hayes before last month’s deadline, according to Clark, but opted to hold onto him in his contract year.

Injury Notes: Durant, Doncic, Ingram, Fox, Morris

Kevin Durant missed what was supposed to be his first home game with the Suns after turning his left ankle during warmups Wednesday night, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Durant was taking part in an individual drill with coaches when he slipped on the floor as he started to shoot (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). He landed on the court, but was able to get up and finish his workout, Windhorst adds.

Shortly afterward, the Suns announced that he would miss the game due to ankle soreness. Durant, who returned seven days ago after missing six weeks with an MCL sprain, reported some swelling in the ankle after the incident. He was in a walking boot after the game, Rankin tweets.

“We’ll get more testing done tomorrow,” coach Monty Williams said, “but right now it’s just an ankle sprain and we don’t have anything official to report.” (Twitter link from Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports)

Durant has played just three games for Phoenix since being acquired from the Nets in a blockbuster trade last month. He’s averaging 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 69% from the field and 53.8% from three-point range.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic plans to get an MRI on Thursday after leaving tonight’s game with a left thigh strain, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Doncic was favoring his left leg as he walked into a post-game media session and replied “not good” when reporters asked how he felt, Lopez adds. Doncic said he has been dealing with pain in the thigh for about a week, according to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “I think we all can see he’s not moving well, so shooting, defensive, it’s affecting everything,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s trying to fight through it and help his teammates, but he had to leave.”
  • In the same game, the Pelicans lost Brandon Ingram to a right ankle sprain late in the first half, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA. Ingram later returned to the team’s bench in street clothes. He missed two months of the season with a toe injury before returning in late January.
  • Kings guard De’Aaron Fox sat out Monday’s game with a sore left hamstring, but he expects to be ready for Thursday, tweets Sean Cunningham of KTXL. Fox is also experiencing wrist pain, but he plans to play through it.
  • Monte Morris played tonight after missing the Wizards‘ last six games with lower back soreness, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Mamukelashvili, Spurs, Clarke, Ingram, Mavs

When a team with a full 15-man roster trades for a new player, it must waive someone to make room for the newcomer — that’s true even if the plan is to immediately cut the newly acquired player, as we saw when the Spurs traded for Noah Vonleh in January.

However, the Spurs were able to claim Sandro Mamukelashvili‘s two-way contract off waivers on Friday despite not making any related moves with Dominick Barlow or Julian Champagnie, their current two-way players.

Teams aren’t permitted to carry more than two players on two-way contracts, but as Bobby Marks of ESPN explains (via Twitter), the Mamukelashvili claim was made possible because the Spurs opened a spot on their standard roster (by waiving Isaiah Roby) and immediately promoted Mamukelashvili to fill that spot by unilaterally converting his deal to a standard rest-of-season contract.

If the Spurs had wanted to keep Mamukelashvili on his two-way deal or to negotiate a standard contract with him that covered two or more seasons, they wouldn’t have had the same roster flexibility and would have been required to waive Barlow or Champagnie when they claimed him, per Marks.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke sustained a lower left leg injury in the first quarter of Friday’s loss to Denver and didn’t return, as Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details. We’ll have to wait for more clarity on Clarke’s prognosis, but the non-contact nature of the injury is concerning (Twitter video link). “I pray that everything is okay,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said after the game (Twitter link via Cole). “… I have no idea what’s going on, so we’ll get more results there.”
  • The two months that Brandon Ingram spent rehabbing a toe injury earlier this season felt like the longest two months of his life, the Pelicans forward told William Guillory of The Athletic. “It was hard. There were certain days when it felt like I had to fight just to be there mentally for my teammates and for myself. I had to fight just to keep a smile on my face so they wouldn’t see me down,” Ingram said. “I’m a person that believes everything happens for a reason. So, I just tried to dig deep, real deep down and get myself out of that dark place. I learned a lot about myself during that time.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Tim Cato addresses a handful of Mavericks-related topics, including Luka Doncic‘s questionable on-court body language and the odds of Josh Green signing a rookie scale extension with the team this offseason (Cato believes the chances are “very high”).

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Williams, Spurs, Sengun

The Pelicans’ inept offense has put them on the verge of a total collapse, William Guillory of The Athletic writes.

Despite Zion Williamson‘s hamstring injury, the Pelicans should have enough depth to hold their own. But even when Brandon Ingram returned from a long-term toe injury, the team continued to sink. New Orleans has a 110.9 offensive rating since Ingram rejoined the lineup, which ranks 23rd during that span, Guillory notes. The club is also shooting just 32.4% on 3-point attempts during that time.

Jose Alvarado and Larry Nance Jr. are now out for multiple weeks, further complicating the Pelicans’ issues.

We have more from the Southwest Divsision:

  • Ziaire Williams, a 2021 lottery pick, has bounced between the NBA and the G League this season. The Grizzlies forward played well for the Memphis Hustle and was recalled on Saturday but he’s not guaranteed of staying with the Grizzlies the rest of the way. “He’s taken full advantage of his G League opportunities as well but we haven’t made those firm decisions on what it’s going to look like on a week-to-week basis,” coach Taylor Jenkins told Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • The Spurs are one of the prime contenders for the top pick in the draft but the players aren’t thrilled about the losses piling up, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “We’re trying to get some wins to end the season, man,” center Zach Collins said. “We can’t fall into the trap of, ‘It’s OK that we’re losing.’”
  • Rockets big man Alperen Sengun is cognizant that he’s not getting crunch time minutes because he needs to improve defensively, Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle tweets. “I just need to be focused on pick-and-roll defense, I think. I can do better job,” he said.

Brandon Ingram On Track To Play Wednesday

After spending the last two months on the shelf due to a toe injury, Brandon Ingram will be available for the Pelicans on Wednesday night when they host the Timberwolves, barring any last-minute setbacks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Ingram has been limited to just 15 games so far this season after sustaining a contusion affecting the big toe on his left foot during a November 25 loss in Memphis. Prior to the injury, he was his usual productive self for the ascendant Pelicans, averaging 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 32.1 minutes per game on .472/.467/.868 shooting.

Ingram’s return couldn’t come at a better time for New Orleans. The team got off to an 18-8 start this season, but has struggled in recent weeks with Ingram unavailable and Zion Williamson dealing with his own health ailments.

The Pelicans have lost 10 of their lost 13 games, including their last five, and are now just 26-22. They still hold the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, but their margin of error has disappeared — the nine teams currently holding the Nos. 5-13 seeds in the West are all within four games of New Orleans.

With Williamson ruled out for at least two more weeks, getting Ingram back should give the Pelicans a shot in the arm as they look to snap their losing streak and hang onto their top-four spot in the conference standings.

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson Out At Least Two More Weeks

The Pelicans announced in a press release that star forward Zion Williamson was recently reevaluated, and while he is “making good progress” in his recovery from a right hamstring strain and is “healing as expected,” he will be out for at least two more weeks. He’ll be evaluated again at that time.

Williamson sustained the hamstring strain on January 2 against Philadelphia. He has missed the last three weeks with the injury.

At the time he was injured, the Pelicans were 23-14 and held the third-best record in the Western Conference. They have gone 3-7 in their 10 most recent games without Williamson, including four consecutive losses, to fall to 26-21, the fourth-best record in the West.

The 22-year-old was having a stellar season prior to his latest injury, averaging 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 60.8% from the floor and 71.4% from the line through 29 games (33.0 minutes per contest). He almost certainly would have earned his second All-Star nod had he stayed healthy, and there’s still a chance he gets voted in, but it’s looking doubtful that he’ll return before the break and be able to participate in the exhibition game at this point.

Until Williamson and Brandon Ingram (toe) are able to return to the lineup, New Orleans will continue to lean on players like CJ McCollum, Jonas Valanciunas and Trey Murphy, among others, for offensive production. Ingram and fellow forward Naji Marshall (toe) have been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest against Denver, per head coach Willie Green (Twitter link via Christian Clark of

Injury Updates: Booker, Paul, Metu, Green, Smith Jr., Ingram

Devin Booker isn’t close to returning from his groin injury, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. The Suns star, who was injured on Christmas Day, has been limited to non-contact drills, according to coach Monty Williams. There’s no firm date for Booker’s re-evaluation.

Suns point guard Chris Paul suited up on Sunday against Memphis after missing seven games due to a sore right hip, Rankin adds.

We have more injury news:

  • Kings forward Chimezie Metu underwent an MRI on his left knee, which showed no structural damage, James Ham of tweets. Metu has a bone bruise and is listed as questionable for Monday’s game against Memphis.
  • Grizzlies shooting guard Danny Green continues to progress from the torn ACL in his left knee, which he suffered last May, Michael Wallace of tweets. Green is playing 5-on-5 with no setbacks, but there’s no timetable on his return to action. The veteran wing was traded by Philadelphia in June.
  • Rockets rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. is listed as questionable to play on Monday against Minnesota, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He missed Saturday’s game due to a right ankle sprain. Kevin Porter Jr. will sit out for the seventh straight game due to a foot injury.
  • Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram played 5-0n-5 in practice on Saturday, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. Ingram has been sidelined since Nov. 25 due to a toe contusion.

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Zion, Tillman, Sengun, Porter

The Pelicans were able to survive for a while with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson both injured, but their current 3-8 stretch is raising concerns, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. New Orleans has fallen into fourth place in the West amid a prolonged January slump. The team ranks 22nd in the league in offensive rating and 24th in defensive rating during the month and is coming off three straight double-digit losses.

“We have to find our defensive identity. Right now, we’re not guarding the way we’re capable of,” coach Willie Green said. “Those are things that we can control. We can make a decision as a team that we want to guard better. We just haven’t been doing it.”

Green is hoping to see his team respond better without Ingram and Williamson because there’s no timetable for either of them to return. Ingram hasn’t played since November 25 because of a left big toe contusion, and a report this week suggested some members of the organization are becoming impatient with his long absence. Williamson has a strained right hamstring, and Guillory doubts that he’ll be back before February or possibly even the All-Star break.

“We have a ‘next man up’ mentality, but it’s always nice to have two All-Stars in the rotation,” Trey Murphy said. “That’s just the bottom line. You’re missing about 40 points on a very low night. You’re getting at least 40 from those two.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies power forward Xavier Tillman talks to Spencer Davies of Basketball News about how he tries to stay sharp despite limited playing time. Tillman is averaging 11.3 minutes in 27 games and usually isn’t part of the rotation unless somebody is hurt, so he’s been doing extra work in practice and asked the coaching staff to let him play in the G League. “Being in a (Memphis) Hustle game allowed me to just play and play in a real game,” Tillman said. “So when I got my opportunity called — like now due to injury — I was ready to go and ready to help the team in all ways.”
  • The Rockets are misusing second-year center Alperen Sengun on offense, which makes it difficult to judge his long-term value, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic states in a discussion with fellow Athletic writer Kelly Iko. Vecenie sees Sengun as an exceptional ball-handler and passer, but says the team’s guards frequently don’t get the ball to him when they should. That combined with his shortcomings on defense are limiting his effectiveness.
  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. missed his fifth straight game tonight with a left foot contusion. His condition will be reevaluated in about a week, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Booth, Gobert, Ingram, Eason

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson denied the rumor that he turned down a contract extension offer, according to Karlo Sacamos of At least three reporters have stated that Clarkson’s representatives and the Jazz have discussed an extension.

I’ve really had no communication in terms of extension from my side or my team that I know of,” the Filipino-American combo guard said in a recent online media availability with Manila-based reporters. “And if those talks are happening, sometime soon, I would love to be here in Utah, continue to play with my teammates further.”

Clarkson, who turns 31 in June, is posting career highs in multiple categories for Utah, including points (21.1), rebounds (4.2), assists (4.4) and minutes (32.6) per game, Sacamos notes. However, due to CBA rules regarding veteran extensions, the Jazz are limited in what they can offer him at the moment.

If the summer comes and it’s nothing else or it’s not an agreement or anything comes through, we just have to wait and see,” the Clarkson said, per Sacamos. “I can’t tell that far in the future, but in terms of right now, I don’t think there’s really been much talking.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • In an interview with Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports Radio (Twitter link), GM Calvin Booth suggested the Nuggets might have a relatively quiet trade deadline. “When healthy, I don’t think we need much. I think we have a lot of what we need inside our locker room,” he said. The Nuggets are currently 30-13, the No. 1 seed in the West.
  • After being limited to 13 minutes in Saturday’s over Cleveland, Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert attempted to play on Monday against Utah, his former team, but was ruled out after just five minutes of action (Twitter link). The three-time All-Star is dealing with right groin soreness.
  • Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram missed his 25th straight game on Monday in Cleveland due to a left big toe contusion, and his extended absence is frustrating some people in the organization, writes Christian Clark of (subscriber link). Clark notes that injuries have long been an issue for Ingram. He has played just 15 games this season.
  • Rookie first-rounder Tari Eason plans to appeal his $30K fine for his role in an altercation between the Rockets and Kings on Friday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscriber link). “There is an appeal process and I’m working on one as we speak,” Eason said. The forward was docked for escalating the fracas and making inadvertent contact with a game official. Eason added that he “was surprised” that he was penalized and that he didn’t realize he had come in contact with an official, according to Feigen.

Pelicans Notes: Injuries, Ingram, Marshall, Green

Injuries to Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson threatened to knock the Pelicans out of the race for the top seed in the West, but the team has found a way to stay competitive, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. New Orleans improved to 6-3 without its top two players after a dominant win in Washington Monday night.

Ingram hasn’t played since November 25 because of a toe injury, and Williamson is dealing with a hamstring strain that will sideline him for at least two more weeks. The injury list got longer Monday when Herbert Jones left the game in the first half with a lower back contusion. CJ McCollum said the team has learned how to be resilient, regardless of who is available.

“We figure it out. We’ve got a lot of injuries. A lot of teams are going through it … It’s the time of year when you feel more fatigued mentally and physically,” McCollum said. “But you go through that process of having to fight through it, having to really push and trust and work. I think we’ve done that all year. For us to be in this position after the injuries we’ve had, it’s a testament to our team, our staff and our development.”

There’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Ingram said over the weekend that he hopes to return sometime during the team’s current road trip, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. New Orleans will be in Boston Wednesday, Detroit Friday and Cleveland next Monday, and it’s not clear which game Ingram is targeting. Coach Willie Green said Ingram hasn’t participated in a full practice since the injury, according to Christian Clark of (Twitter link).
  • Naji Marshall became a believer in Green after watching YouTube clips of his playing career shortly after he was hired as head coach in 2021, Clark notes in a full story. Their bond grew as the Pelicans’ Summer League team posted a 5-0 record, led by Marshall and Jose Alvarado. Even though they weren’t awarded the Summer League title because of point differential, the experience convinced Marshall that Green could produce a winner in New Orleans. “It was major,” Marshall said. “He (Green) was new. He had new players. Really just wanted to show them the way. Was trying to build a foundation of defense first. Playing as hard as you can. We was the champs that year. We weren’t congratulated like we should. But I think we punched everyone in the mouth that summer.”
  • Clark hands out midseason grades for the Pelicans, giving A’s to Marshall, Williamson, Alvarado, Larry Nance Jr. and Dyson Daniels.