Alexis Ajinca left the New Orleans Pelicans first preseason game with a hamstring injury. Turns out his stay out of action is going to be rather significant as the team announced this morning Ajinca will miss 4-6 weeks due to a hamstring strain. For a Pelican fan base who has been battered with poor injury news for two consecutive seasons this injury, combined with linger issues for Jrue Holiday, is just another rock on the pile.
This summer Ajinca re-signed with the Pelicans to a four year contract which could be worth up to $22 million if incentives are reached. A number of fans, and one former columnist, believed that Ajinca was a better option than Omer Asik for the uptempo attack to be installed by new head coach Alvin Gentry. Instead general manager brought on both Asik and Ajinca and that added depth will be tested early on this season. It is worth noting that the five man lineups where only Asik and Ajinca were the variable consistently performed better with Asik in the lineup.
|Asik - Davis - Evans - Gordon - Holiday||171||109.8||98.5||11.3||94.77|
|Ajinca - Davis - Evans - Gordon - Holiday||41||116.6||108.4||8.2||89.14|
|Asik - Davis - Cunningham - Gordon - Evans||210||108.4||97.0||11.4||91.94|
|Ajinca - Davis - Cunningham - Gordon - Evans||17||104.2||95.8||8.4||103.60|
From NBA Stats
Who will soak up the minutes Ajinca was going to get? The best bet is Kendrick Perkins, who many hoped would be a "break in case of emergency" option at center while functioning primarily as a leader in the locker room. Do not discount the option of Jeff Adrien moving into the rotation as a small ball center option. Adrien is a rugged rebounder and while undersized could use this opportunity to solidify his hold on the 14th roster spot.
Ajinca was going to be the 9th man in the rotation. The Pelicans should be able to weather his absence. If this is a sign of things to come, however, all bets are off.