Jrue Holiday on why he’s returning to Pelicans now: Because my wife said I could
Holiday has been away from the team for the last three months, tending to his ailing wife, Lauren Holiday (formerly Lauren Cheney) who was dealing with a brain tumor in addition to being pregnant with the couple’s first child.
When asked why he’s coming back this early in the season, Holiday was nonchalant in his response.
“Because my wife said I could,” he told Justin Verrier of ESPN.
“It was really just to see where my wife was in her recovery. And since she’s doing so well, and since my daughter’s getting bigger, and since my family and her family are there to help her out with anything… I just feel comfortable being back and being able to leave them, if it’s on a road trip or whatever it is.”
While he declined to give specifics on her condition or the baby’s, Holiday said he was able to see people’s “true colors” during those times of hardship.
“She has great fans who support her through soccer internationally or through her faith,” he said. “I mean, just on Twitter, every day people are always saying they’re praying for her. … So many people since I’ve been back, they don’t even ask how I’m doing, they ask how my wife’s doing. And to me, that’s awesome. That just shows how great people are around us.”
Head coach Alvin Gentry said there’s a good chance Holiday doesn’t start right away upon his debut, as he’s been away for a long time and needs to get acclimated before being placed in that position. Gentry said he’d talk to Holiday during shoot around to get a better feel.
“It’s going to be fine,” Gentry said. “Obviously it’s going to take a little while for him to get his timing back, from a basketball standpoint. I think he’s in really good shape conditioning-wise and everything, but you have to actually participate and play in games to get your basketball timing.”
Holiday was limited to 74 games combined during his first two seasons in New Orleans because of right leg injuries, but made a splash last season, averaging 16.8 points and six assists, including a career-high 19.7 player efficiency rating in the span of 65 games. His season was cut short after fracturing an orbital wall in his right eye.
“I’m so excited,” Holiday said of his season debut. “At the end of it my teammates are always there for me. My teammates and the Pelicans were always there. To come back and fight for them like they supported me, I’m happy to do it.”