Already behind the eight-ball in their series against the 67-win Golden State Warriors, the New Orleans Pelicans were dealt a blow when Tyreke Evans left Saturday’s Game 1 loss with a knee injury and was unable to return after halftime.
After the game, Evans spoke with ESPN’s Marc Stein, telling him that he “felt a little pop, felt a little snap,” leading to speculation for his availability for the rest of the series.
Fortunately, it appears Evans has avoided the type of injury the mind conjures upon the words “pop” and “snap”:
Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans says MRI on his left knee showed a deep bone bruise. He's a game-time decision for Game 2.
— Antonio Gonzalez (@ByAntonioG) April 19, 2015
If Evans is relegated to street clothes, the Pelicans will be in big trouble. Already dealing with a minutes restriction for Jrue Holiday, who’s still working his way back from a leg ailment of his own, Norris Cole would be pressed into a much larger role. Since acquiring him at the trade deadline, Cole, who won two championships in Miami, did see significant court time, averaging just under 10 points on 44.4 percent shooting overall and 37.8 percent from three to go along with 3.2 assists in 24.4 minutes per game.
Cole has been an upgrade over Austin Rivers, but Evans is the Pelicans’ primary rim attacker. Evans only managed one point in 12 minutes in Game 1, his first career playoff game, but post-All-Star Break, he averaged 16.3 points, 7.6 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals in helping the franchise earn their first playoff berth as the Pelicans.