NEW ORLEANS — The Pelicans have shelved forward Jason Smith’s return until next season after he underwent surgery to remove loose cartilage in his right knee.
The team said the Jan. 29 surgery was successful and will keep him off the court for the final 35 games. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
He last played on Jan. 15 against Houston and has missed the past eight games.
Smith saw time in 31 games for New Orleans, providing the team with a physical and emotional lift while on the floor. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while playing 26.8 minutes per game.
He was averaging nearly four more points and 2.3 more rebounds than his career average thanks to an average of 10 more minutes per game.
It’s another blow to a team that had high hopes heading into this season. The team has been without forward Ryan Anderson since he herniated a disc in a collision during the team’s Jan. 3 game against Boston.