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New Orleans Pelicans Rumors: More Injury Trouble, Who Takes Over at Point Guard

The New Orleans Pelicans coach, Willie Green, can’t catch a break. Green guided the Pelicans to the 2022 playoffs and an appearance in the 2023 play-in game despite not having his stars for most of the season due to injury. Green has the Pels off to a 4-2 start for the second consecutive season, as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been relatively healthy. Already missing three key rotational players, the Pels received more bad news on Sunday.

According to New Orleans‘ press release, star guard CJ McCollum is out for Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets due to a collapsed right lung. The team said that they will re-evaluate McCollum’s condition in 48 hours.

New Orleans Pelicans Rumors: More Injury Trouble, Who Takes Over at Point Guard

McCollum, a MRI on Sunday revealed that the lung collapse was due to a small pneumothorax. According to the Mayo Clinic, a pneumothorax “occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. A pneumothorax can be a complete lung collapse or a collapse of only a portion of the lung.”

Per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez, this is the second time in McCollum’s career he has dealt with a pneumothorax.  The 32-year-old was diagnosed with the issue in December 2021. He missed nearly six weeks with the condition that year.

McCollum is off to a splendid start. The former Lehigh University star averages 21.3 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. He also has made 3.2 treys a game while compiling a shooting slash line of .440/.380/.742.

Jose Alvarado, Naji Marshall, and Trey Murphy III are the three players who have yet to play for the Pelicans. Alvarado is still recovering from a right ankle sprain he suffered right before the start of the season. Marshall will be reassessed in two weeks as he returns from a knee issue. Murphy will miss several more months as he continues to recuperate from surgery on a slightly torn left meniscus.

Those injuries leave New Orleans with just 12 healthy players, including both of their two-way players. Depending on McCollum’s status in the immediate future, the Pelicans may have to add a player or two. Expect the Pels to add another player to a two-way deal very shortly. They also have room to add a player on a standard contract, as they are carrying 14 players.

Green does have options to fill McCollum’s shoes at point guard in the immediate future. The most likely option is for Green to start Dyson Daniels. Daniels, who started 11 games at point guard last year, is averaging 23 minutes through six games as the Pelicans first guard off the bench. Known more for his defense, the 20-year-old has done a better on the offensive end this season.  He is averaging 6.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 0.8 turnovers.

However, Green could opt to leave Daniels with the second option and start with Kira Lewis Jr. Lewis, who is a high flyer, has struggled in the early going after being limited to 49 games over the last two seasons.  Another option is for Green to move Ingram over to the one and insert Matt Ryan at small forward. Ryan, known for his 3-point marksmanship, poured in 20 points in a start this past week against Detroit.



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