Peja goes through practice drills with contact

Updated: March 14, 2007, 8:42 PM ET
Associated Press

Peja Stojakovic
Stojakovic

BETHANY, Okla. -- Hornets guard Peja Stojakovic went through practice drills with contact Wednesday for the first time since he had back surgery about three months ago.

There was no timetable for when the three-time All-Star would return. He has been out since November.

Stojakovic was initially diagnosed with back spasms, but the Hornets eventually determined he would need surgery to remove a disc fragment from his lower back. He had surgery on Dec. 17.

He returned to individual drills, running and shooting before Wednesday, but had not been subjected to contact.

Stojakovic, acquired by New Orleans in an offseason sign-and-trade deal with Indiana, averaged 17.8 points and shot 41 percent from 3-point range before he was sidelined. He had a career-high 42 points in a win against Charlotte and hit the winning 3-pointer in a victory at Minnesota as the Hornets got off to an 8-3 start.

Stojakovic played his last game against Minnesota on Nov. 24, two losses into a 4-18 slide by the Hornets. They rallied to reach as high as seventh in the Western Conference after the All-Star break but have lost a season-high six straight games to fall to 12th place in the West.

New Orleans is 1½ games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Both teams were idle Wednesday.

Stojakovic was not expected to play during a two-game East Coast swing that includes games at the New York Knicks on Friday and the Washington Wizards on Saturday.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press