Tuesday , Sep , 08 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Peja Stojakovic to Come off Bench for New Orleans Hornets?

When New Orleans Hornets small forward Peja Stojakovic reports for training camp later this month, General Manager Jeff Bower and Coach Byron Scott will already know if his previous back problems will be a factor.

Two weeks ago, the franchise sent Mark Cranston, Director of Athlete Performance and Rehabilitation, to evaluate Stojakovic at his offseason home in Greece. Last season, the Hornets was unable to get a precise update on Stojakovic’s back condition until he reported for camp.

As part of the franchise’s revamped offseason procedures, Cranston was able bring back detailed reports concerning Stojakovic’s back strength.

Stojakovic has had back problems since requiring season-ending surgery in 2006 to remove a disc fragment. He missed 20 games last season because of back spasms, but averaged 13.3 points per game. There is a possibility Stojakovic may come off the bench this season to extend his career. He has the team’s highest contract at $14.2 million this season and $15.3 million in 2010-11.