PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 26: Eric Gordon #10 of the New Orleans Hornets puts up a shot past Markieff Morris #11 of the Phoenix Suns during the season openning NBA game at US Airways Center on December 26, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Tomorrow morning, I was going to argue why Eric Gordon deserves a maximum extension from the Hornets, spanning at least four years (if not the full five, which we could hold onto for someone like Tom Robinson or, heh heh, Anthony Davis). Tomorrow morning, I will not be doing that because yesterday night, Monty Williams said this:
I know some things. I'd love to tell you guys as much as I do know but I've got to hold onto it for another day or two and get some more information from the doctors. They're still running tests on him but we'll know more Monday or Tuesday for sure.
Now this could be nothing. It really could be. We could look back at this on Wednesday, laughing, pushing each other into the bushes ("come on, the water's on, let's go!").
But consider: Eric Gordon was supposed to return from a "knee bruise" shortly after the December 26th season opener against the Phoenix Suns. When Gordon held off on returning until January 4th, it was billed simply as a "precautionary measure." Gordon was day-to-day during the intermediate time period, but he hasn't played since the Philadelphia game on the 4th. The fact that there's "important" news to report at all points strongly towards a negative revelation, if only because a healthy Gordon, based on our information so far, would hardly be proclamation worthy.
The Gordon injury saga has been a bit convoluted thus far because in many ways, it sprouted from nothing. At the time of the trade, we knew Gordon last had a serious wrist injury with the Clippers in 2011 that he'd recovered fully from. Aside from that, we were largely led to believe he was arriving in one piece. So a quick timeline here of Gordon's first month in New Orleans:
December 16th: Gordon, Kaman, Aminu ineligible for first preseason game at Memphis (At the Hive)
December 17th: Gordon passes team physical examination with Hornets (Los Angeles Times)
December 17th: Gordon attends but does not participate in Hornets practice while Kaman, Aminu do (At the Hive)
December 21st: Gordon plays first game for Hornets, preseason vs. Memphis. (At the Hive)
December 26th: Gordon plays first regular season game, vs. Phoenix (At the Hive)
It was later revealed (two days later) that Gordon bumped knees with Grant Hill in the third quarter. Video is below.
December 31st: Gordon misses second straight game, reveals knee bruise was pre-existing condition (SI)
January 4th: Gordon returns to starting lineup against Philadelphia (At the Hive)
January 6th: Hornets announce Gordon will miss 2-3 more weeks with knee injury (Hornets.com)
January 20th: 2 weeks later, Monty Williams gives cryptic quote on the condition of Gordon's knee
And so here we are. The problem, in all of this, is the dreaded "pre-existing" modifier to Gordon's injury. Gordon never suffered a right knee injury while with the Clippers, nor is there any evidence of him picking up a knee injury over the extended lockout offseason. And of course, at the time of the physical, the Hornets revealed no information about his current injury status.
All we have to go off of is his collision with Grant Hill against Phoenix.
Through some sleuthing, we can find exactly what play it happened. The collision occurred in the 3rd quarter; Popcorn Machine shows that Hill and Gordon were on the court at the same time in the third quarter from the 12:00 to 7:41 mark. Watching that footage reveals the reaggravation happened at 9:03 in the third My video quality here is really poor on account of a terrible internet connection, but here's the play (extremely choppily) anyway:
Even with better quality, it would be tough to see what really happened here. No replays of the play were shown at the time.
This mystery may finally be solved Tuesday; whether it's via a good, bad, or awful resolution remains to be seen.