Pelicans' Elfrid Payton to undergo surgery on broken finger; expected to miss six weeks

Elfrid Payton's return from injury was shortlived. And unfortunately, this time he's going to be out even longer. 

The Pelicans announced on Monday morning that Payton will be out for six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a broken finger he suffered last Friday during their game against the Knicks. Via NBA.com/Pelicans:

New Orleans Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton, who suffered a fractured left fifth finger against the New York Knicks on November 16, will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair the fracture. Payton is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

Payton, who signed a one-year deal with the Pelicans this offseason, was playing well to start the season. He was averaging 14.5 points, seven rebounds and seven assists through the first four games -- all of which were Pelicans wins -- but then suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for a few weeks. 

After missing nine games, Payton finally returned on Friday against the Knicks, but had only played eight minutes before breaking his finger. With a six-week timeline, that means we may not see Payton again until the calendar turns to 2019. 

This, obviously, is a huge bummer for both Payton and the Pelicans. There's never a good time for a player to get hurt, but it's especially tough to see someone go down when not only were they playing well, but are going into free agency. Hopefully Payton will be able to return to his early form when he returns from the surgery, but that is never guaranteed. 

As for the Pelicans, this leaves them thin in the backcourt, and could force a heavier workload onto the shoulders of Jrue Holiday E'Twaun Moore -- each of whom are already playing well over 30 minutes a night. They'll face the Spurs on Monday (8 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension). In the crowded Western Conference, where a number of teams are likely going to be squeezed out of the playoffs but just a few games, losing a big part of your rotation is a tough blow. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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