It has been a very difficult season for CJ McCollum and the New Orleans Pelicans, as the veteran guard has had to fight through a serious thumb injury in order to remain in the lineup. The Pelicans are hoping to do well enough over the final 9 games of the season so they can rise up to the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference or at least finish inside the conference's top 10.

That won't be easy because powerful Zion Williamson is likely to miss at least two more weeks with his hamstring injury, and he may not be able to come back at all. Williamson has not played a game for the Pelicans since January 2.

The Pelican are also without guard Jose Alvarado who has been sidelined by a right tibia injury.

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McCollum could easily be on the sidelines as well with his thumb injury, but he is fighting to help his team survive the closing stretch of games.

“My thumb injury is not ideal. But it’s where we’re at and I’ve always been the type of player that if I can play, I play,” McCollum said. “And obviously, it’s hampered me at times. But I want to win, and I want to do whatever I can to help my team. Me shutting it down weeks ago wasn’t something that I felt made sense and it’s not something that I would just embrace as a player.”

CJ McCollum is averaging 18.0 points per game and connecting on 43.4 percent of his shots. He has started 66 games for the Pelicans this season. McCollum was acquired by the Pelicans last year. He spent the first 9 years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers.