Ryan Anderson remains hospitalized in Boston as Pelicans depart for Indiana
The tensest moments for the New Orleans Pelicans during their game in Boston Friday night didn’t come when the Celtics’ Jared Sullinger pulled up to attempt a game-winning three pointer, or when Pelicans point guard Brian Roberts prepared to take his two free-throw shots to preserve a New Orleans win after Sullinger’s miss.
Instead, it was the 10 minutes early in the fourth quarter that Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson laid motionless on the court after a collision with Celtics forward Gerald Wallace. A silent crowd watched as medical staff from both teams helped paramedics fit Anderson with a collar and lift him onto a stretcher to finally be wheeled off the court, as players from both teams stood nearby in quiet support.
An ambulance rushed Anderson to a Boston hospital for evaluation of a cervical stinger, which is an injury to the nerves in the neck and shoulder that cause a burning or "stinging" sensation.
"We are just praying for his health," head coach Monty Williams said. "He looked like he was OK. I was more worried about his mother. I know she’s at home a nervous wreck, so hopefully she hears this message and is cool with the fact that he’s OK and in good hands."
Anderson did give the crowd a thumb’s up as he was wheeled off the court. The injury occurred as the Pelicans tried to inbound the ball from under their own defensive basket. Wallace bumped into Anderson from behind, around his shoulder-blade area, sending him careening to the floor.
"I don’t know what happened. I really don’t know," Wallace said post-game. "I didn’t see him; I don’t know what happened. I’ve been there. I’ve been on the floor two or three times in my career. I know the feeling. I know what he’s going through, the thought process. I mean I know the whole process of him laying on the floor waiting on a stretcher to come get you. I just want to make sure that he’s fine. He said he was all right."
After Anderson went down, Wallace was one of the players who stayed closest to him until he was wheeled away.
Anderson isn’t just the Pelicans leading scorer. He’s in many ways one of the biggest components of the team’s heart and soul.
"It was tough. It’s a sad situation," Pelicans forward Anthony Davis said. " You don’t want to see one of your guys go down, especially one of your leaders. We just prayed for him, but at the same time we’ve got to try and win the game. From that point on, we just tried to win it for him."
That the Pelicans did, triumphing over the Celtics 95-92, behind Davis’ 23 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
It’s unclear how long Anderson will remain hospitalized, but he stayed in Boston under a doctor’s care Friday night as the team departed for Indiana to play the Pacers on Saturday in the second game of a back-to-back. Several of his teammates took to Twitter to express their support, disappointed at having to leave Anderson behind.
Good team win tonight 🙏 for u @ryananderson33 get better soon
— Tyreke Evans (@TyrekeEvans) January 4, 2014
Praying for @ryananderson33, hate seeing a teammate leaving on a stretcher. Glad we pulled together for the win!
— Greg Stiemsma (@gregstiemsma) January 4, 2014