On Tuesday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced that their rookie power forward E.J. Liddell underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL. Liddell will be out indefinitely as he recovers from the procedure.
Liddell, who was drafted in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft, suffered the injury during this year’s NBA Summer League. The Ohio State Buckeyes product averaged four points and four rebounds in the two games he played during the tournament.
Liddell will now most likely be out for the entire 2022-23 campaign. It shouldn’t be a big loss for the Pelicans in the short term, considering that they already have their 15-player roster filled out, and the 21-year-old player was projected as a two-way player. However, they will now have to wait a year longer to see what they have in Liddell and whether he can be part of the franchise’s long-term future.
E.J. Liddell spent three years at Ohio State, averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 boards over the course of his college career. His best performances came in 2021–22, during which he put up 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.6 blocks per contest. This earned him First-team All-Big Ten and Third-team All-American honors.
Despite his strong junior year, Liddell slipped to the second round as the scouts had concerns about his streaky shooting and lack of ball handling abilities. He is also reluctant to take three-pointers, having a .341 career average.