Their star center Demarcus Cousins tore his Achilles tendon in their 115-113 win over the Houston Rockets. Cousins was immediately declared out for the season.
This injury is a huge hit to the Pelicans franchise. They had started to gain some traction with their two superstar attraction in Cousins and F Anthony Davis.
They are currently the #6 seed in a hyper-competitive Western Conference with a 27-21 record. The team also has the opportunity of grabbing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Instead, this injury will put the Pelicans in desperation mode just to hold on to make the playoffs entirely.
Cousins was in the midst of having one of his best all-around seasons of his nine years in the NBA. He was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds a game prior to the injury.
Instead, all of the pressure now shifts to Anthony Davis in hopes that the Pelicans can hold on to playoff positioning.
Teams like the Trailblazers, Nuggets and the Clippers are within range to nip at the all of a sudden vulnerable Pelicans. While it was a long-shot that New Orleans would actually beat any of the top teams in the West come postseason time, there is not a shadow of a doubt that teams like the Warriors and Rockets are actually breathing a sigh of relief.
The Pelicans might not have fared well in those matchups, but the potential pushback early in the playoffs could have set off some alarms.
Even trickier is how this affects the New Orleans Pelicans and their approach to free agency this summer. Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent come July. Even with this injury, it is highly assumed he will still fetch lots of interest from other ball clubs willing to pay top dollar for his services. This is where it affects the Pelicans negatively.
They will not have the luxury of being able to know whether Cousins will be back to 100% until past the free agency period.
This injury affects so much in so many scopes. Then there is the elephant in the room. How does all of this affect Anthony Davis himself and his future?
Lots of questions with so little answers in the short term.