WESTWEGO, La. — Monty Williams still envisions Eric Gordon finishing the season on the court for the Hornets, despite the befuddling evolution of the shooting guard's right knee injury.
After playing in only two games and resting his knee for more than a month, Gordon had arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday.
Williams was at a loss to explain why the initial prognosis that Gordon would need only rest changed suddenly this week, but expressed confidence that the operation gave the club a more concrete timeline of about six weeks for Gordon's return.
"I'm not a doctor and I'm not going to play one right now," Williams said after Tuesday's practice. "From the information I was given, the surgery was a success. Obviously they felt like they had to clean it out to make sure everything is headed in the right direction.
"The biggest thing is his desire to get on the court is something that people don't get to see," Williams continued, adding that reports Gordon does not want to play for the Hornets are "way off base."
According to team officials, the fourth-year shooting guard out of Indiana bruised his knee in the season opener, when he scored 20 points in a victory at Phoenix and hit the game-winning shot.
He came back Jan. 4 against Philadelphia, scoring 22 points in a loss, but has not played since.
"Eric is dying to get back on the floor," Williams said. "Because of where he is in his career, being young and the future of our franchise, I'm pretty sure we're being a ton more cautious than we would if ... this were three or four weeks before the playoffs."
During New Orleans victory over Utah on Monday night, Gordon was not on the bench with the team. One of his Twitter posts indicated that he was watching Syracuse defeated Louisville. The post said in part that, "Syracuse is a fun basketball team to watch."
A number of Hornets fans apparently saw the post and posted their own notes, questioning why Gordon was not watching his own team.
Williams said he sensed there would be a backlash to Gordon's tweet when he heard about it, but emphasized that he has never known Gordon to intentionally "do stuff just to tick people off."
"I see it, but I'm like, 'Come on, guys.' He doesn't have the track record of somebody who has been a knucklehead, who would do something like that on purpose," Williams said. "For all we know, as much money as he makes, he could have had three or four TVs up in his house. I think it gets a little out of sorts. ... I'm pretty sure he feels bad, the way this is coming out."
Gordon, 23, was one of three players the Hornets acquired, along with center Chris Kaman and forward Al-Farouq Aminu, in a trade that sent All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.
That trade also brought the Hornets a first-round draft choice that the Clippers had previously acquired from Minnesota.
Gordon averaged 22.3 points with the Clippers last season, establishing himself as a top scoring threat. With Gordon in the lineup, the Hornets are 1-1. Without him, they are 4-22, including 12 single-digit losses.
The Hornets offered Gordon a four-year extension earlier this season, but the two sides were unable to reach a deal before a January NBA deadline for reaching early extensions players who were due to become restricted free agents after the season. General manager Dell Demps said after negotiations stalled that the Hornets still see Gordon as a potential centerpiece of their rebuilding effort, and he expects negotiations to resume when the season ends.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Hornets will be able to offer Gordon more money than anyone else. The question is how comfortable they would be doing that after Gordon has missed most of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
"Eric is obviously a big part of what we want to do and where we're going and I get" the scrutiny of his prolonged absence, Williams said. "I would hope that we would look at his heart and his intention and who he is. His track record is pretty good. I'm just excited or hopeful that we could get him back."
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