New Orleans Pelicans rookie E.J. Liddell looked like he could have been one of the steals of the 2022 NBA draft. Now, he may not suit up at all for his rookie year.
The Pelicans announced Tuesday that Liddell, selected in the second round with the 41st overall pick, tore his right ACL in Monday's NBA Summer League game against the Atlanta Hawks. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis later that night.
Injury Update: E.J. Liddell will be out indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee.
An MRI done last night confirmed the injury, which occurred during the third quarter of yesterday’s Summer League game against the Atlanta Hawks. pic.twitter.com/fSU4Cxqj8v
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 12, 2022
The injury occurred as Liddell fought for position on an offensive possession in the third quarter. His knee, which he apparently tweaked in the first quarter as well, clearly buckled as he went down.
After suffering an injury to his right knee during the first quarter (and then returning after being checked out by team doctors), former Buckeye and current New Orleans Pelicans rookie EJ Liddell suffered another knee injury during the third quarter. pic.twitter.com/DIESBfvMwR
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) July 11, 2022
Liddell was considered a potential first-round pick after an Ohio State career that saw him earn first-team All-Big Ten honors and scattered All-American nods last season. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as a junior while contributing enough on the defensive end to also make the Big Ten's All-Defensive team.
Despite that success, Liddell slid all the way to the Pelicans, likely due to a lack of size as a 6-foot-7 power forward. That positioned him to be a potential steal for a young Pelicans team, but we will now have to wait a while before seeing him in real NBA action.