With the New Orleans Pelicans having no legitimate shot to make the playoffs with 14 games left, star forward Anthony Davis will not play again this season.
According to Pelicans radio broadcaster Sean Kelley and ESPN's Justin Verrier, New Orleans is shutting Davis down because of knee and shoulder injuries. Jennifer Hale of Fox Sports reported Davis will undergo surgery on his knee and also his shoulder, to repair a torn labrum.
We’re going to shut him down. He’s done for the year. It’s unfortunate, but he’s got an issue with his shoulder that he’s played with the whole season. It’s amazing when people talk about him being soft or whatever; they don’t understand that he’s played through a situation with his shoulder the entire season.
This course of action does not come as a surprise, as Gentry told reporters Saturday the Pelicans were not ruling anything out, per Verrier: "I think we've gotta be smart collectively, along with him. And like I said, I think we'll know a lot more after they talk to the doctors today. And then I think there can be some decisions made."
While Davis has not been as dominant in 2015-16 as he was last year, he's still one of the NBA's best players and was averaging 24.3 points and a career-high 10.3 rebounds per game.
Dan Woike of the Orange County Register did raise an interesting point after the Pelicans announced Davis was done for the season:
Are we at the point where we start holding Anthony Davis' durability against him when discussing his place in the league?— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 20, 2016
It's a fair question to ask, even though Davis is 23 years old. This is his fourth year in the NBA, yet he's never played 70 games in a season due to an assortment of injuries. He's an MVP candidate when healthy, but you have to play 70 to 75 games to legitimately be in that conversation.
In a report from March 18, Verrier noted that Davis would stand to get an additional $24 million on the extension he signed last year if he is named to the All-NBA team this season. It's not out of the question he could be named to the first-, second- or third-team this offseason, though it does add an additional wrinkle to the situation.
Davis is quoted in Verrier's report as saying you "can't control" the additional incentives in a contract.
Even though it would be nice for the Pelicans to have Davis on the floor down the stretch if he were healthy, there's nothing to gain. They are 26-43, last in the Southwest Division and 8.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks for the final playoff spot.
This has been a frustrating season for everyone in New Orleans, especially after last year's 45-win campaign and playoff appearance. Losing Davis only adds to the exasperation for the Pelicans, though hopefully they will be better off in the long run after allowing him to heal up for next season.