NEW ORLEANS - It's been a painful 10-day stretch for Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson, both physically and emotionally, since herniating two discs in a frightening collision with Gerald Wallace in Boston on Jan. 3.
Anderson is now sidelined for up to two months as he tries to allow his c5 and c6 discs to heal on their own, but he's not ruling out a return to action this season.
"I'm going to get another MRI within the next month or two months, depending on how the healing goes," Anderson said. "I will get surgery if it's not healing properly. If my body heals on its own, which the doctors say there's a good chance it will, then I'll get back to normal exercise and get back on the court, hopefully."
Should Anderson need surgery, he says doctors told him it is a relatively safe procedure, similar to what NFL quarterback and New Orleans native Peyton Manning underwent in 2011, prior to successfully leading the Denver Broncos the past two seasons.
"He seems to have recovered pretty well," Anderson smiled in his first interview since doctors carted him off the court in Boston.
There hasn't been much for Anderson to smile about lately. The shooting nerve pain from his elbow to his hands made it excruciating for Anderson to simply rest his arms on his bed. Now, with the help of medication, Anderson says the pain is starting to subside.
Doctors do not believe Anderson's injury is a career-threatening one, as long as he allows it to fully heal, according to the sharp-shooter.
Monday Anderson sat on the Pelicans' bench cheering on his team inside the New Orleans Arena as they battled the San Antonio Spurs. For now, Anderson is limited to attending home games, unable to travel for road games. The sixth-year NBA veteran is focusing on resting this week, a necessary component to his initial recovery from the injury.
"The number one thing I know right now is to take this week of rest," Anderson said. "The hardest part right now is just being away from the team. It's hard because I haven't been able to do much. Moving forward, I definitely want to be a leader and an encourager off the court, a vocal guy. This is such a young group. We need veteran-leadership guys to step up, and this is an opportunity for me to do that vocally."
Anderson also thanked fans and well-wishers for all of the support he's received. During an obviously difficult time, he says their prayers and concerns have encouraged him.