When the New Orleans Pelicans players used to pair off in teams for pickup games last month forward/center Jason Smith could only watch because he hadn’t been cleared yet for contact work after requiring surgery on his right shoulder in April.
But during Tuesday’s opening day of training camp at the Pelicans’ new practice facility Smith was back to his old self. Instead of watching he challenged shots and pursued rebounds during intense four-on-four drills.
Finally cleared for contact work last week it couldn’t had come soon enough for Smith who had spent the past five months going through a stringent rehabilitation program to strengthen his right shoulder after surgery.
Smith played with a torn labrum last season for almost three months before he re-injured his right shoulder in a Feb. 26 game against the Brooklyn Nets that ended his season.
``You see the guys putting in the hard work during the summer and I wanted to get back out there and show them that I still got it and I’...