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Pelicans’ Nikola Mirotic says he’s getting ‘very close’ to a return

Nikola Mirotic

The New Orleans Pelicans are fighting for a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference. They climbed two steps in the standings with two consecutive wins, and the return of forward Nikola Mirotic could help improve their chances.

Mirotic went down with a right ankle injury last December 10 and hasn’t played for the Pelicans since. But his return could come anytime soon.

In an interview with Andrew Lopez of NOLA.com, Nikola Mirotic said he’s very upbeat about the possibility that he could return to playing for the Pelicans.

“I’m getting better every day,” Mirotic said at Monday’s shootaround. “I’m doing treatment. A lot of work individually, on the court, off the court. Today was a great day because we did a lot of cardio also, a lot of movement laterally. So, it was good. It was pretty good.”

The seven-year veteran was cleared to resume basketball activities and went on to do some shooting drills with teammates Anthony Davis and Julius Randle on Monday. He also did some workouts with the team’s trainers and coaches as he continues to condition himself before suiting up for New Orleans once again.

This isn’t the first time that Nikola Mirotic got injured this season. He missed two games in November but was able to play 11 games before getting injured anew. But Mirotic isn’t allowing his setbacks affect his focus and goal to help the Pelicans in any way possible.

“Being away was hard, but I’m always trying to be positive and learning what I can do to help the team to get better. I’m almost there and just looking forward to being back.”

In 25 games this season, Nikola Mirotic has averaged 17.4 points and 9.2 boards for the Pelicans.