What a Fractured Knee Cap Would Mean for the Hornets Future

Published: January 23, 2012

Monty Williams hinted two nights ago that Eric Gordon’s knee injury may be a bigger concern than previously disclosed. I’ve heard today that what the team termed a bumped knee may is more likely a fractured knee cap. Here’s why you remain optimistic if that’s the case.

Let me be clear that I haven’t confirmed this.

Update: The Hornets have told me that they do not have that diagnosis yet, and that they are running more tests and should know more later this week.

Newer Update: Marc Spears tweeted that Gordon’s knee is structurally sound and that he’s going to be out another 2-3 weeks. I guess that makes sense? Sort of?

This really isn't a joking matter, but this picture had to be used somewhere.

“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.” — Monty Williams

With that one quote Monty set off speculation that Eric Gordon’s knee injury may not be “just” a bruise, and that the prize piece from the deal that sent CP3 packing might not be available early this week. Today I’m hearing from my sources (I’m sorry, I hate saying that but people don’t want to be identified) that Eric Gordon’s knee cap is likely fractured.

Some will freak out and say that the Hornets future may not be as bright or certain as we had all hoped now, but in all honesty this could wind up being better for the team long term. There are obvious negatives, but I’ll let everyone someone else fill in those details later.

If Eric Gordon’s knee injury winds up being a fractured knee cap, it A) keeps him out for an extended period of time, B) will heal with some time off and won’t be a lingering problem for years to come, and C) shouldn’t affect the team’s ability or desire to reach a long term agreement with him. None of those are particularly bad things considering that the Hornets were facing possible purgatory if he came back and played at the level we all know he’s capable of.

Let’s be real here—If you add a healthy Eric Gordon to the Hornets right now, they could win half their games coming home. It’s not like they’re getting blown out as it is. In fact, they’re probably one great player away from having doubled their current win total. Gordon is a great closer, and what the Hornets have lacked so far is the ability to emerge victoriously in the final minutes of tight games.

Right now, Marco Belinelli has played 88% of clutch minutes (4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points) so far this season. Per 48 minutes of clutch time the Hornets are getting outscored by 43 points, or nearly a point per minute. When games are being decided by a point or three on a regular basis (they are), those points add up.

Gordon, as I’ve mentioned before, is one of the better closing guys in the league. He shot 56% in clutch situations last year, scoring over 38 points per 48 minutes. In his lone game as a Hornet he knocked home a game winner.

If Gordon were to come back right now at near full strength, the ceiling for the Hornets pick is probably around seven or eight. They just aren’t that bad. Their point differential per game (-4.8) is only the seventh worst in the league, and typically that’s the stat that indicates future wins and losses best. Considering they’re missing the guy who is undeniably their best player, it’s really hard to see the Hornets even having a legitimate shot at the top pick (or even top five, really) if Gordon comes back and plays well.

But if he’s out for a month and a half (the initial deagnosis when Blake Girffin fractured his kneecap), then you can truly lose some games and go at that top pick. You can trade your quality pieces like Landry, Kaman, Ariza, and even Jack (who really is playing well) for younger talent and picks. You can start Aminu, Ayon and Vasquez, guys in need of some burn to reach the next level. Check out what some playing time and hard work did for Jason Smith. The guy all of a sudden looks like a quality third big man, not just a great fifth big.

Fans want to win some games this year for sure, but we’d rather win a few because of amazing games by Aminu or Vazquez than watch as our team wins 27 games (and the 10th pick) with Kaman, Landry, Jack, Okafor, Belinelli and Ariza playing 30 or more a night. There’s middle aged and mediocre, and there’s young and terrible developing. One of those groups is more likely to be going somewhere than the other.

Which one will the Hornets be the rest of this year? That may very well be determined by the result of the additional tests on Eric Gordon’s knee. If my sources are right, we’re looking at young and terrible developing.


  1. J

    January 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Eric Gordon is our Brandon Roy trade him to indy he’s going to sit out the rest of season anyway at least their have a franchise SG with bad knees and give him a bad contract. We need to rebulid and with Gordon’s bad knee could set the franchise back 5 years or more.

    • nikkoewan

      January 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Eric Gordon is far from BRoy. BRoy had knee problems right from the start. I’ve never heard Gordon being a injury prone guard coming out of Indiana..

    • Mason Ginsberg

      January 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

      If Joe’s source is correct, then Gordon and Roy are completely different situations. If you remember, the reason Blake Griffin missed his first season was due to a patella fracture which required surgery. That injury for Griffin was pretty serious, but he hasn’t had a single problem with it since returning for his ROY-winning season last year. If this intel is indeed accurate, then I wouldn’t be too worried about Gordon’s injury having any real long-term effects.

  2. J

    January 23, 2012 at 11:08 am


  3. berlin-hornets

    January 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I really hope you are right and we also dont trade him for Granger. Let him sit and heal and extend him. It doesnt matter where we draft, with Gordon on the team we wont have to worry about the SG-position.
    I also want to say that we shouldnt trade Okafor! We wont get good value back and we always have to remember that there is a certain amount the team has to spend on players. The team wont go anywhere really next year either and the year after that he will be an expiring deal with value. The big we will draft (hopefully Davis, Drummond or Sullinger) still can learn from him on the defensive end and wont be relied upon that much and can grow.

  4. lancebrou68

    January 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    so first comment, did you or did you not read the article, it said that he wont have lingering problems with his knee.

  5. James Online

    January 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Take a look at who’s taking the fourth quarter shots, not who’s out there and you’ll have a better idea of what’s wrong with this team down the stretch.

    So long as Jarret Jack is running the team they will go nowhere, Gordon or not, guaranteed.

  6. da ThRONe

    January 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I have no problem with signing EG as long as it’s somewhere in the neighborhood 4-5 years @ 9-12mil a year. We can’t afford to commit too much cap with no owner/s in place. Flexibilty is key until we have said owner/s. Hopefully if the knee is seriously injuried we can get a discount on Gordon’s extention. If we have to overpay I say we trade him for more pieces.

    As far as the roster we need a youth movement in the worst way. Which means Okafor, Ariza, and Jack all need to be move to the highest bidder. We are a minimal of 2 years away from being a really good team and 3-4 years minimal from being a championship team. We need to get as much young talent on the roster and on the court to see who we want to move forward with. Also what their role’s and worth are going to be with the team.

  7. J

    January 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Why would anyone want to keep Okafor horriable contract trade him instead of Kaman

    • bleedHornets

      January 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      i say/let em both go and with Landry 9 mil one year contract that gives us 33mil cap if we can get ride of okafor for reserve players I don’t care if we don’t get equal value for him we can do a monster rebuild if we play are cards right lets not forget Xavier is only 20 years old 10 pick in the draft and is a promising player

  8. 504ever

    January 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    The majority of this article was great.

    This is the part where you lose me: “You can trade your quality pieces like Landry, Kaman, Ariza, and even Jack (who really is playing well) for younger talent and picks. You can start Aminu, Ayon and Vasquez, guys in need of some burn to reach the next level. Check out what some playing time and hard work did for Jason Smith. The guy all of a sudden looks like a quality third big man, not just a great fifth big.”

    First of all Jason Smith worked hard in the off season to earn the playing time he got, not the other way around. And more playing time allowed him to show he had made himself into a quality big. Now of the three you named (Aminu, Ayon and Vasquez), only Ayon has shown anything resembling the talent, skill, and understanding to be a starter. The other two have obvious limitations that playing time won’t solve to make them into starters.

    • MontyForMayor

      January 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I agree and disagree here.
      Aminu still has a lot of potential. We have to remember that he’s only 21 years old. He has a lot of room to grow and basketball to learn. Ayon I think is a legit player that just needs to get used to the NBA. Vasquez is who he is. A high energy guy with the potential to get hot. Really hot. But don’t think he’ll ever be consistent.
      I say we keep Okafor and trade Kaman and Landry for a couple guards and hopefully a 1st round pick.
      I hope Gordon gets healthy, but you’re right we don’t need him to come back now and start winning games for us. Drummond anybody?

      • 504ever

        January 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

        I agree Aminu has a lot of basketball to learn, learn before he gets on the court.

        It appears the Hornets staff agrees. How else do you explain aminu’s 2 1st Half minutes to Summer’s 8 1st Half minutes in tonights Spurs game? If all Aminu needed to become a starter was time on the court, he would be getting more tonight.

  9. sundance

    January 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    A fracture might be the best news the Hornets could expect to hear. A bone is less serious than a ligament, and shouldn’t be a problem down the road. If Dell is lucky, this might “encourage” Gordon to agree to an extension now rather than later.

  10. RBee

    January 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I hope you’re wrong. I don’t want Eric Gordon to have a fractured knee cap and I don’t want us to tank. I’d like a WIN tonight.

    • bee dat

      January 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm


  11. Pingback: 3-on-3: Previewing Spurs @ Hornets | New Orleans Hornets | Hornets247.com

  12. coach44

    January 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    A couple of points:
    1. I totally agree that this is the best thing that could have happened. I was worried that Gordon might be doing his own tank job because he didn’t want to be here. I had no evidence, but he has no track record with this team to go by. I’m not happy he is hurt, but I’m relieved that this is the reason why he isn’t playing. And the fewer games we win, the higher our pick.
    2. I don’t think it would be wise to trade away every veteran player on this team. The presence of one or two solid veterans can help to steer the young guys in the right direction.
    3. I agree- lay off of JJ. You can’t compare him to CP3. Gene Bartow was no John Wooden, but he was a pretty good coach in his own right.

    • da ThRONe

      January 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      As far as veteran leadership we can always sign some FA’s that’s simply good locker room guys. We don’t need significant cap space going to players like Ariza, Jack or Okafor for leadership reason.

  13. jobie cantrelle

    January 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I think this can be a good thing. There’s simply too much up in the air to be the judge. Does EG sign a contract extension for a lesser amount than he wanted previously? (From comments made its easy to tell he wanted to get paid) it would be instrumental for the hornets to sign him now and prove to the fans that we do have a future star locked in. And the pick position would obviously jump to the 3-6 range no doubt w.o gordon. We can all hope for the number one but there’s no lbs or dwight howard this year. Every year you had multiple talents in a draft its very rare the no. 1 is the best. (Jordan). Either way we as the fans are still in the uncomfortable position of wait and see. By week ends things should ne much clearer, what with gordons extension and his injury

  14. Lucas Ottoni

    January 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm

  15. QueenBee

    January 24, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Too quick to throw out information?

    • Jason Calmes

      January 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

      A charitable interpretation would be that the “If this is right, I’m smart; if this is wrong, he’s dumb” sort of disclosure is thay MAYBE it encouraged Eric etc to address the issue early. Likely a coincidence since he was in NY, not a reaction to the article, but its possible it loosened the lips.

      The news may have been true, but it’s healed. Another possibility, but he did play a full game after (well), practiced, traveled, etc.

      Time will tell if this is/was true, but it still may require some charitiable eyes.

      Sometimes you break news, sometimes you fracture it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.