Pelicans Most Likely Without Key Contributor In Showdown Vs. Celtics

The Pelicans hobble into Boston on Wednesday


Jan 10, 2023

The Boston Celtics may catch even more of a break Wednesday night due to another injury on the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans listed versatile wing Herbert Jones as doubtful for the contest that will pit two of the best teams in the NBA against each other. Jones exited early from Monday’s win over the Washington Wizards when he fell hard on the court and suffered a lower back contusion.

Jones isn’t much of an offensive threat as he averages 10.0 points per game, but his lengthy and athletic 6-foot-8, 210-pound frame makes him a stout defender and someone the Pelicans would have relied upon to match up with Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Jones actually had one of his better games this season from an offensive standpoint when the Pelicans met the Celtics in New Orleans in November. The second-year pro tallied 17 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes in a 117-109 loss to Boston.

Jones received time guarding both Tatum and Brown in that game and recorded mixed results. Jones was more effective against Brown, holding him to 1-for-3 shooting with two turnovers while Tatum turned the ball over twice as well with Jones on him but connected on 3-of-4 shots, per NBA tracking data.

Jones’ ailment adds to the injury woes for the Pelicans, who have already ruled out stars Brandon Ingram (left great toe contusion) and Zion Williamson (right hamstring strain) against the Celtics.

Boston is a little banged up as well with the team listing Marcus Smart and Robert Williams as questionable for the game. Smart left Saturday’s win over the San Antonio Spurs with a left knee contusion that he’s still recovering from while Williams, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time this season on Monday, is dealing with left knee injury rehabilitation.

With the Celtics on the front of a back-to-back, it seems unlikely Boston will push Williams to play as it continues to be cautious with the difference-making big man.

The Celtics and Pelicans tipoff from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports Images
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