Ryan Anderson returns to court after career-threatening injury

Jan 3, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Ryan Anderson (33) is taken off the court at TD Garden.

David Butler II/David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s season opener for the New Orleans Pelicans marks an important milestone for 3-point sharpshooter Ryan Anderson.

The game versus the Orlando Magic marks Anderson’s first return to regular season NBA action since a terrifying injury early last year made him question if he’d see the court professionally again.

"After all that happened, just to be playing is amazing," Anderson said shortly before the Pelicans tipped off against the Magic. "That injury was scary. We talked about a lot of possibilities I’m really glad didn’t happen."

Last January, Anderson herniated two discs in his neck during a violent collision with the Celtics Gerald Wallace in Boston. Doctors operated on Anderson’s spine in April, and the three-point phenom began physical therapy in July.

"I feel great. As far as healing from injury and the surgery, I’m 100%," Anderson said. "Now it’s just a matter of getting back in basketball shape."

Anderson looks back to his old self, physically and mentally. He’s lighting things up on the court and is one of the biggest, most positive personalities on the team.

"I’m in a good place. I definitely have a newfound passion for the game," Anderson said. "It’s what I do, what I’ve known my whole life. That injury took me to a new place: I thought it would be a much longer time before I had to ever think and talk about retiring from the game."

Anderson seems intent on making up for lost time. He’ll play from the bench tonight with no minute restrictions, according to head coach Monty Williams.