The New Orleans Pelicans will be shorthanded as well as jet-lagged when visiting the Indiana Pacers. The team did not get to their Indianapolis hotel until sunrise on Wednesday morning, just 12 hours before tipping off the second game of a back-to-back road set. Third-year head coach Willie Green will be missing at least two key contributors off the bench and possibly three players from the starting lineup in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum.

The Pelicans have flaws to work on but none of their postseason plans will work out without a fully healthy roster.  The franchise is also notoriously cautious with injuries so it is unsurprising to see Zion Williamson (left foot contusion), CJ McCollum (left ankle sprain), and Brandon Ingram (right ankle sprain) were all listed as questionable before their only visit to the Hoosier State. The Pelicans' brutal airport experience leaving the Big Apple did not help matters.

New Orleans versus Indiana is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN. The Pelicans will be playing their fifth game in seven days. Jose Alvarado (league suspension) and Dyson Daniels (left knee meniscectomy) have already been ruled out. The Big Three will make decisions closer to tip-off. New Orleans has not done well on national television this season but the announcers should recognize this is a unique situation.

Williamson has featured in six consecutive games. He did sit out a February 10 road game against the Portland Trail Blazers, which was also the back end of a two-games-in-two-days situation. Ingram tweaked his ankle during the most recent win over the New York Knicks. McCollum has not played since suffering a sprained ankle against the Miami Heat.

Aaron Nesmith (right ankle sprain) is questionable for the Pacers. Doug McDermott (right calf strain) has been ruled out.

Both teams are fighting to stay above the NBA Play-In Tournament cut-off line. The Pacers are safely five and a half games ahead of the ninth-placed Chicago Bulls and just a half-game behind the currently fifth Miami Heat. The Pelicans are fifth in the Western Conference but only a game and a half ahead of the eighth-placed Dallas Mavericks.

It's not the best scenario for New Orleans but there is a reprieve coming soon. The Pelicans and Pacers wrap the season series on March 1 with a meeting in the Big Easy. Then the Pelicans have just four games over the next 12 days. That mini-break should give Williamson, Ingram, and McCollum plenty of time to heal up for the stretch run.