Eight months after suffering a herniated disc in a nasty collision with the Boston Celtics’ Gerald Wallace and just five months removed from cervical spine surgery, New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson has been cleared by doctors to resume full basketball activities.
The 26 year-old sharpshooter took to social media to announce the good news, sharing x-rays of his surgically repaired spine, too.
I’m cleared for contact! After 8 months out, I can finally play again. Thank you God!
Anderson was initially injured on January 3. There was hope that he’d be able to recover without surgery and play again in the 2013-2014 season, but it was dashed as his symptoms lingered to March and it was announced he’d undergo surgery. Here’s video of the unfortunate incident with Wallace:
Anderson played just 22 games last season. New Orleans went 12-10 (.545) when he was available, taking advantage of Anderson’s unique offensive prowess by averaging over six points more per 100 possessions with him on the floor. The Pelicans finished the season 34-48 (.415).
Anderson is an absolutely crucial piece for New Orleans, and stands to benefit from the offseason addition of defensive-minded behemoth Omer Asik. What will be interesting is whether or not coach Monty Williams will feel comfortable playing Anderson, Asik, and Anthony Davis simultaneously.
Anderson has played very, very little small forward in his career due to a lack of foot-speed, but the unique defensive ability of Asik and Davis mitigates the problems he’d have checking opposing wings. The league is trending against forcing ‘tweener forwards to play on the perimeter and rightfully so, but the Pelicans have the combination of players that might make going the opposite direction work on occasion.
Regardless, Anderson will be critical to New Orleans’ success in 2014-2015. Should he stay healthy and emerge a legitimate contender for Sixth Man of the Year, the Pelicans dreams of making the playoffs will be far more attainable.
(Video via EverythingBoston1)
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