Things are slowly starting to improve for the Pelicans sharp-shooter Ryan Anderson, who’s battling to return to action after herniating two discs in his back in a game against the Boston Celtics in December.
Anderson tells Fox Sports New Orleans that he his almost pain free, and since the pain is subsiding, he’ll delay a decision on whether to have surgery.
"I’m going to start increasing my workload in rehab and see how my body responds," Anderson said while sitting courtside with play-by-play man Joel Meyers and analyst Davis Wesley during Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. "I had a checkup today and was cleared do do a little shooting, no three pointers."
Anderson describes the nerve pain in his arms as "the worst in his life" despite playing through numerous injuries like fractured ankles.
As much as being injured aggravates Anderson, he is pledging to approach his return to the court slowly and intelligently, always abiding by doctorsâ recommendations.
"It’s definitely an injury to be conservative with, because it’s the spine," Anderson said.
The downtime does bother Anderson though, who isn’t used to being inactive and likes to stay busy. The upcoming All Star Weekend in New Orleans will be especially hard to swallow. Anderson participated in two previous Three Point Contests during past All Star Weekends.
"It’s going to be tough not to be in that contest this year," Anderson said. "I’ve loved shooting three’s since I was a kid. It’s going to be hard to watch."
Anderson is spending his free time acting as a part-time coach and full-time cheerleader for the young Pelicans who have survived the rash of injuries that recently decimated New Orleansâ starting line up.
"I’m so proud of those guys. They play with so much energy and battle everyday, whether in practice or a game," Anderson said. "They’ve really stepped up their defense lately. We pulled some recent stats and right now we’re a Top 5 defense. It says a lot about who they are. They want to prove everyone wrong."
Anderson also knows how to keep things light. He recently bestowed Pelicansâ rookie Jeff Withey with his official nickname of "Sweet Pea." Anderson even arranged for a plaque bearing the new identity to go up on Withey’s locker.
"Some nicknames come to you immediately and some build up over time," Anderson grinned. "This one just felt right. We had to give him a rookie nickname, and he’s just so sweet. This one fit."
Anderson doesn’t have any official timetable for his recovery and return, except to say that he expects to be at full speed for next season.