New Orleans Pelicans rookie E.J. Liddell suffered a torn ACL in his proper knee, the workforce announced Tuesday.

Liddell, 21, sustained the damage in the course of the third quarter of the Pelicans’ Summer League sport towards the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. He shot an ideal 3-of-3 from the sphere for six factors, placing up 4 rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes earlier than exiting the sport. New Orleans went on to defeat Atlanta, 101-73

The former Ohio State ahead averaged a team-high 19.4 factors and seven.9 rebounds per sport for the Buckeyes final season. New Orleans chosen Liddell with the No. 41 decide within the 2022 NBA Draft.

(Photo: David Banks / USA Today)

How a lot might this hamper his growth?

Will Guillory, Pelicans beat author: This is a brutal damage for Liddell as a result of it nearly actually takes away his likelihood of taking part in within the NBA or G League in 2022-23.

Liddell was most definitely a candidate to develop with the Pelicans’ G League affiliate, Birmingham Squadron. But New Orleans was excessive on his potential as a flexible defender with a bit offensive talent.

Pelicans normal supervisor Trajan Langdon even joked a couple of weeks in the past that New Orleans would’ve picked Liddell in final yr’s draft if he did not keep at school.

How did New Orleans plan to make use of Liddell this yr?

Guillory: With a lot of final yr’s workforce coming again, Liddell would’ve had a tough time cracking the rotation early in his profession.

But the Pelicans have finished a powerful job of growing younger expertise within the again finish of the draft to fill out the roster. Herb Jones was a second-round decide. Naji Marshall and Jose Alvarado had been each undrafted free brokers.

There was hope inside the entrance workplace that Liddell could possibly be the subsequent hidden gem they unearthed late within the draft. I would not be stunned in the event that they discover a strategy to maintain Liddell round as he goes by way of his rehab.

Who might be added to the roster in his place?

Guillory: With 15 assured contracts already locked in on the roster, there was no assure Liddell would find yourself being greater than a two-way contract earlier than his damage.

The Pelicans have already used one in all their two-way slots on undrafted rookie Dereon Seaborn. There’s an opportunity they determine to go away their second two-way spot open to stay versatile as soon as the season begins.

That’s in all probability the route that makes probably the most sense.

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