Gordon returns to Pelicans’ starting lineup wearing protective compression shirt

Eric Gordon returns to the Pelicans starting lineup Monday night versus the Washington Wizards wearing a protective compression shirt to help stabilize his left shoulder.

New Orleans’ shooting guard has missed the last 21 games with a completely torn left labrum. He’s been intensely rehabbing his shoulder, trying to avoid surgery.

"It’s not 100% by any stretch," Gordon said. "But it’s all about mentality. I’m determined to play through. That’s why I’m wearing the compression shirt. It will hold my posture in place and hopefully help keep my shoulder from getting jerked around."

 After a full contact practice Sunday and a good shoot around Monday morning, Gordon and coach Monty Williams decided it was time for him to return to action.

"He looked pretty good at practice," Williams said. "He didn’t look like he was favoring it at all – he looked strong. His legs are fresh, which is great. Eric has a great basketball IQ. He always makes the right play, and that’s what I like about him. Now, his conditioning and timing may take a little while to work back into."

Gordon originally injured his shoulder in an on-the-court collision that dislocated his shoulder. When it popped back into place, Gordon’s labrum tore.   

Monday night, Gordon is not expecting any minute restrictions, but says he and coach will be smart about easing him back into the game as he returns to basketball shape.

"I’m going to give it a go tonight," Gordon said. "I’m very excited to get back out there. With me, it’s all about winning. It’s all about whatever it takes to win games."

Gordon says surgery is still an option, but he’s hoping to postpone it until after the season.

Before his injury, Gordon was averaging 9.5 points per game.

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