On Sunday afternoon, New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum was diagnosed with a small pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung, the team announced.
Medical imaging on Sunday showed the small pneumothorax in his right lung. The team said McCollum will undergo further testing to determine how severe the collapsed lung is and what the healing process will be like. However, McCollum will be sidelined indefinitely for now.
While a collapsed lung sounds scary, McCollum seemed to take the diagnosis well.
It is unclear what caused the lung injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, a pneumothorax can be caused by a blunt or penetrating chest injury, by underlying lung disease, or for no apparent reason. McCollum’s right lung collapsed in 2021 after suffering a rib injury in a game with the Portland Trail Blazers. It took him almost three weeks to recover from this injury. It is unclear whether these injuries are related.
McCollum, 32, averaged 21.7 points and 5.7 assists in six games for the Pelicans this season. He scored 13 points and six assists in Sunday’s 123-105 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. McCollum, who is also president of the National Basketball Players Association, averaged 20.9 points and 5.7 assists last season, his first full season with the Pelicans. He signed a two-year, $64 million contract extension with the Pelicans that will keep him in New Orleans through the 2025-26 season.
The Pelicans, who opened the season 4-2, face the Denver Nuggets on Monday. Assuming the recovery time is comparable to that of his last lung collapse, McCollum expects to return shortly after Thanksgiving.