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Elfrid Payton Diagnosed with Fractured Finger, Could Have Surgery on Hand Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2018

New Orleans Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton attempts a free throw during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Elfrid Payton suffered a fractured left fifth finger during Friday night's 129-124 win over the New York Knicks, the team announced Saturday.

Payton is scheduled to visit a hand surgeon next week. No timetable has been provided for his return.

After signing a one-year deal with the Pels during the offseason, Payton is producing to the tune of 9.7 points, 5.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game so far this season.

New Orleans brought Payton into the fold to replace veteran Rajon Rondo, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

Payton was selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Louisiana-Lafayette by the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Orlando Magic on draft night. After three-plus seasons, the Magic traded him to the Phoenix Suns prior to the deadline last season.

In 63 games split between the Magic and Suns, Payton finished with 12.7 points, 6.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest. He also shot a career-best 49.3 percent from the field.

Payton's shooting has gotten progressively better throughout his NBA career, and he has developed into an overall threat on the offensive end.

Additionally, Payton has been fairly durable over the course of his career, playing in all 82 games in both 2014-15 and 2016-17.

He missed nine games in 2015-16, however, and missed some action last season because of a hamstring injury.

While the potential absence of Payton takes an element of dynamism out of the Pelicans' attack, they do have some depth in the backcourt to make up for his potential loss.

Defensive stopper Jrue Holiday will continue to be the primary option at point guard, while E'Twaun Moore and Ian Clark will contribute at the shooting guard spot.

Although Payton's do-everything style will be difficult to replace, the Pelicans have a dominant frontcourt that will continue to be the team's primary focus while he is on the shelf.

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