NEW ORLEANS — Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson says doctors want him to rest for about two months before they determine if he’ll need neck surgery to repair a herniated disk.
Anderson said he’s now nearly pain-free with the help of medication, and he is optimistic about his long-term future in the NBA. However, he is unsure if he’ll be able to play again this season, his sixth as a pro.
“Obviously, I want to get back as soon as possible, but this is something that if I got hit again, it could be more than just career ending. I want to be careful about it,” Anderson said, speaking publicly Monday night about his injury for the first time since it occurred in a collision with the Boston Celtics’ Gerald Wallace on Jan. 3. “We’re going to find out pretty soon how it’s healing, and depending on if it’s healing [on its own], then we’ll just keep going with that. But if not, we’ll do the surgery.”
Before his injury, Anderson had been New Orleans’ leading scorer, averaging 19.8 points through 22 games.
Anderson, 25, said doctors told him that if he needs surgery, the procedure would be similar to the one Peyton Manning had before the Denver Broncos quarterback’s prolific return to the NFL two seasons ago.
“That’s kind of the person they over and over talk about,” Anderson said of Manning, who set NFL single-season records for passing yards and touchdown passes in 2013 and will play in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. “He’s having a pretty good recovery, I’d say.”
Anderson, who was taken off the TD Garden court in traction after the injury, said he never lost feeling in any extremities, but he initially had “terrible” nerve pain shooting from his elbows to his fingers, making it difficult to do something as simple as scratch his own nose.
Anderson said he bears no ill will toward Wallace, who was running hard to cover Darius Miller when he collided with Anderson from behind, sending the Pelicans forward straight to the floor.
“He’s a great guy,” Anderson said. “He would never intentionally hurt somebody or me. It was a normal play in the game. He just got me in the right place.”
Anderson said he won’t travel with the team in the near future, but he is looking forward to offering whatever leadership he can from the bench and locker room during home games, as he did Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs.