In my overly optimistic post about our preseason, I mentioned how part of the reason we looked so rough (posting a 1-3 record and a -9.1 Net Rating) was because of how many players we were missing. Trey Murphy III, Naji Marshall, Cody Zeller, Larry Nance Jr., and Jose Alvarado all missed some/all of the preseason.
But based on recent reporting, it looks like we may be getting three of those five guys back ahead of our season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies (on October 25th).
According to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, the Pelicans are looking like they will have Nance, Zeller, and Alvarado back against the Grizzlies.
Last month, Alvarado hurt his ankle during a workout and has been nursing that since. This is unrelated to the stress reaction in his tibia that kept him out for the final 20 games of last season and the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Nance is also returning from an ankle injury. Unlike Alvarado, though, his ankle problem has been more of a nagging issue, as he missed parts of last season because of it (including their play-in game against the Oklahoma City Thunder). Zeller was the team’s only major free-agent acquisition. But he has yet to suit up for the team because of a back injury.
Unfortunately, there’s no chance we will be seeing Murphy or Marshall in the opener. Marshall hurt himself during the team’s third preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks. He isn’t set to be re-evaluated until the 28th of the month.
Meanwhile, the Murphy injury has been the big story of the offseason for the team. While Murphy and the team avoided the worst of it, he will be missing the first month of the season (at least) as he recovers from meniscus surgery. Until then, we won’t have a real idea of how good this team can be, as they will be operating without their third-best player.
But still, it looks like our luck may finally be starting to turn around (we hope).