Pelicans center Jason Smith 'out indefinitely' with knee injury

Pelicans center Jason Smith 'out indefinitely' with knee injury

Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 15: Jason Smith #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the game against the Denver Nuggets on December 15, 2013 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 18 at 7:53 PM

Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

NEW ORLEANS – The Pelicans will be without Jason Smith indefinitely after the cartilage damage was found in his right knee, the team announced Saturday.

It’s another blow to a young team expected to contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Smith becomes the third player with an indefinite time frame in returning to the court; point guard Jrue Holiday (stress fracture, right tibia) and forward Ryan Anderson (herniated disc).

“It’s a part of coaching, sometimes more extreme than others,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said when asked if he had ever seen anything like this recent string of injuries. “We’ve had extreme this year.”

Greg Stiemsma is expected to start for Smith, with Alexis Ajinca and Jeff Withey seeing time at the center position as well.

The Pelicans (15-23) also have been playing without guard Tyreke Evans, though he will return tonight against Golden State after missing three games due to a left ankle sprain.

This season has been the fourth that Williams has had to deal with injuries, dating back to his rookie season as head coach when David West went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament just prior to the playoffs.

He’s hoping to at some point guide a healthy team, though he admits going through what he has has helped him grow up as coach.

“You learn so many different ways as a coach, how to prepare,” Williams said. “There’s always a positive that you can find and that’s what we’ve been teaching our guys, you can find something good.”

In 31 games, Smith is averaging 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while playing nearly 27  minutes in each game.

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