HANG TIME, Texas — Ho! Ho! Ho!
Look who came down the chimney of the Hornets early on Christmas Eve.
Guard Eric Gordon, who has been on the shelf all season due to problems with his right knee, took part in his first practice since training camp on Monday.
Though he is a present that still requires more assembly before all the kids can play with him in a game, just the sight of Gordon out on the court is a lift to a New Orleans bunch that has lost 11 in a row.
Coach Monty Williams said Gordon will not play Wednesday at Orlando. But Gordon says he felt great and indicated to our man John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he would like to play before the end of 2012. After the Magic, the Hornets will play at home against Toronto on Friday and at Charlotte on Saturday.
“I felt pretty good,” Gordon said after Monday’s practice.“I was just ready to get out there with the guys. It was full contact and I participated in every thing. Now it’s just the conditioning part.”
It was only Gordon’s third contact practice he has participated in since training camp began this past October. He participated in two contact practices before the Hornets opened the regular season against the San Antonio Spurs, but he did not play because of recurring problems with his knee.
Before rejoining the team Saturday, Gordon had been in Los Angeles since early November going through extensive rehabilitation work to strengthen his knee.
“He looked pretty good out there at attacking the basket,” Williams said after Monday’s practice. “He looked pretty encouraging, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Of course, the big question that still hangs in the air is whether reception Gordon will receive a naughty or nice reception when he finally return to the court before the home fans in New Orleans. Many of them still haven’t forgotten that he said he wanted to put the Hornets in the rear view mirror and continue his career in Phoenix after the Suns signed him to a four-year free agent contract worth more than $58 million last summer.
All might have been forgotten quickly if Gordon had been able to make a good early impression while teaming up with No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis. But when Davis had early aches of his own that kept him out of the lineup and with Gordon missing the first 27 games, Hornets fans have watched another season go south quickly (5-22).
Gordon has said that his statements were only part of the regular negotiating that is done in free agency and Williams has already made a public plea for the guy who could put a big kick into his offense to be forgiven.
You’ve got to figure delivering big in that first game will be the only way to heal the wounds.