Move over Chauncey Billups. You’ve got company and that’s not a good thing.
A week after the Los Angeles Clippers guard ended his season after tearing his left Achilles, the New Orleans Hornets Eric Gordon underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday morning to repair his injured right knee and is expected to miss at least six weeks.
According to the Hornets, Gordon bruised his knee in the season opener against Phoenix on his way to scoring 20 points and hitting the game-winner, but has not played since returning on January 4 in a loss to Philadelphia after dropping 22 points.
While there is a chance Gordon — who has only appeared in two games for the Hornets since being acquired in the Chris Paul trade — could return and play in the remaining 20 games of the regular for the Hornets, there is one other team for Gordon to consider: Team USA.
Like Billups, Gordon is part of the 20-man selection roster scheduled to take part in training camp as the team prepares for the 2012 London Olympics and chance at making the official 12-man roster. Last week USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said he has no intentions of replacing Billups on the Olympic team’s training camp roster. He also spoke about growing concerns of injuries sustained during this lockout season that could have lasting effects on Team USA.
Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Lamar Odom have all dealt with various injuries the last three months and now Billups and Gordon are forming a non-Dream Team of their own, and that’s not a squad anyone is eager to be a part of. Gordon’s news comes on the same day that Rose saw a back specialist who confirmed MRI results that the Chicago Bulls all-star point guard has no structural damage to his back. Rose has missed the last two games with back spasms and has missed a total of 7 games this season with injury.
Neither Gordon or Colangelo have commented on his status for training camp at this time. The focus instead is getting Gordon healthy enough to return to the Hornets.
Will Gordon be healthy enough to take a shot at making Team USA’s 12-man cut in training camp?
It’s going to be a tricky situation.
Gordon has more to think about than just the Olympics. There is also negotiating with New Orleans during the offseason about a long-term contract extension to consider. Investing in a player with knee troubles doesn’t exactly scream “pay me” these days (just ask the Portland Trail Blazers), so even if the rehab process goes according to schedule for Gordon’s don’t be surprised if he sits out Team USA training camp.
Even without Gordon, the Team USA backcourt remains stacked (Wade, Rose, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook) — as long as guys can stay healthy that is. Still, Gordon’s production and outside shooting in the Olympics will be missed if he opts to sit this one out.
He played solid during the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey averaging 8.6 points per game, finished second on the team in three-pointers made (19) and second in three-point percentage (.452, 19-42 3FG) as Team USA went 9-0 to bring home the gold.