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RUMOR: Pelicans’ Elfrid Payton could be out until the first of the year

Elfrid Payton, Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans starting point guard Elfrid Payton could be out until January, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Elfrid Payton underwent surgery in November to address a fracture in his left pinky which he suffered against the New York Knicks at home.

“I’m told Elfrid Payton may be out till’ the first of the year,” Wojnarowski said. “He played well for them early, came back and then got hurt again.”

Payton has only played in six games this season for the Pelicans. The 24-year-old is averaging 9.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest while shooting 47.1 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 63.6 percent from the free-throw line. New Orleans is 5-1 when Payton plays.

Payton signed a one-year deal with the Pelicans in the offseason after splitting time last year with the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns. He was spotted getting up shots at practice on Saturday.

New Orleans is 15-15 on the season, 11th place in the Western Conference. The Pelicans have been starting Tim Frazier in Payton’s spot. Payton has recorded one double-double and one-trouble in his six starts.

The Pelicans are raring to see Payton back in the lineup, but it appears they are going to have to wait until January.