New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee on Tuesday and will be out at least an additional six weeks, meaning that if he comes back at all this season, there would be fewer than 20 games left.
”After consulting with our medical staff, we concluded surgery was the best route and in the best interest of Eric for the long term,” general manager Dell Demps said in a statement released by the club late Tuesday night, after the Hornets’ 86-80 victory over Utah. ”Eric is eager to return to the court and we are confident Hornet fans will get to see him soon.”
The 23-year-old Gordon has played in only two games this season. According to team officials, the fourth-year shooting guard out of Indiana bruised his knee in the season opener, when he scored 20 points in a victory at Phoenix and hit the game-winning shot.
He came back Jan. 4 against Philadelphia, scoring 22 points in a loss, but has not played since.
Gordon was one of three players the Hornets acquired, along with center Chris Kaman and forward Al-Farouq Aminu, in a trade that sent All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.
That trade also brought the Hornets a first-round draft choice that the Clippers had previously acquired from Minnesota.
Gordon averaged 22.3 points with the Clippers last season, establishing himself as a top scoring threat. With Gordon in the lineup, the Hornets are 1-1. Without him, they are 4-22, including 12 single-digit losses.
The Hornets offered Gordon a four-year extension earlier this season, but the two sides were unable to reach a deal before a January NBA deadline for reaching early extensions players who were due to become restricted free agents after the season. Demps said after negotiations stalled that the Hornets still see Gordon as a potential centerpiece of their rebuilding effort, and he expects negotiations to resume when the season ends.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Hornets will be able to offer Gordon more money than anyone else. The question is how comfortable they would be doing that after Gordon has missed most of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.