NEW ORLEANS — Eric Gordon has been out of sight for much of his career in New Orleans.
That might not be true too much longer.
Gordon is back practicing with the Hornets after missing the first two months of the season following a lengthy knee rehabilitation in Los Angeles.
And the good news if you’re hoping to see Gordon play? He feels as good as he has felt this year.
“Right before the opener, I had two contact practices but I was still hurting,” Gordon said Monday. “I banged up around then. This was my first time where I didn’t have much pain at all. I was getting after it in full contact. I participated in just about everything. I feel good.”
The guard, whom the Hornets signed to a max contract worth $58 million this summer, had surgery to repair his right knee this past spring. He tried out for the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team in July but didn’t make the cut.
When New Orleans hit the floor for preseason training camp, Gordon’s knee began to hurt again. The pain culminated in a nearly two-month move to California where he received “a more personalized and intensive rehab regimen,” according to the franchise.
The original timetable for Gordon’s return was 4-6 weeks. It will be closer to seven weeks, however, before he sees game time. This after missing 57 of 66 games in 2011-12 after coming to New Orleans as part of the blockbuster Chris Paul trade.
Still, that he’s back with the team practicing is a positive step. Now pain-free, the key will be to get back in game shape.
“(He) looked pretty good attacking the basket and defending in his first practice, so we’ll see how he feels (Tuesday),” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “It looked pretty encouraging.”
Gordon admitted that he’s still a bit away from hitting the point where he can play a full game.
Upon his return, the Hornets will get back a player who has a career average of 14.7 points per game and is known for being at his best in the clutch.
The key, he said, will be working himself into better condition.
“I felt pretty good today,” Gordon said Monday. “I just think I need more, especially if I’m going to have to do what I need to do to help this team win in a short amount of minutes at a time. It’s all about conditioning.”