Jrue Holiday remains out as wife Lauren prepares for brain surgery

NEW ORLEANS -- Lauren Holiday gave birth to a healthy girl this week, New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis said Friday, and both the team and her husband, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, now await her surgery to remove a benign tumor from the right side of her brain.

"She had a baby girl, so she's doing fine," Davis said at the Pelicans' media day. "Now it's time to get Lauren back on track."

Lauren Holiday, 28, a former U.S. women's national team soccer player, was expected to undergo surgery six weeks after giving birth, and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said she is currently preparing for the procedure.

Demps said there is still no timetable for the return of Jrue Holiday, 26, who will miss an indefinite number of games to start the 2016-17 season as he supports his wife's recovery and cares for the newborn.

"When the time is right, Jrue will come back to the team," Demps said. "And when he comes back -- and I've said it before -- we're going to welcome him with open arms. We feel as an organization, led by the Bensons, that it's most important that he be with his family and be a great husband right now. We've been in contact with him and constant communication.

"When the time is right, he'll return. But as of now, our hearts and prayers are with them. And we're hoping that Lauren has a successful surgery."

The child's due date was set for mid-October, but the Holidays planned to induce labor sooner to expedite Lauren Holiday's surgery. The couple has resided in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, near the Duke University medical specialists who will handle the surgery, and several Pelicans teammates recently went to visit and to work out with Jrue Holiday.

"We're always praying for him, we're always in his corner," Davis said. "He knows that if he needs anything, he can always call any of us. It was just good to see a smile on his face."

Said Quincy Pondexter: "To see him in the spirits that he was in, it really made me that much more of a fan of his, because he's handling it really well. Him and his wife are handling it extremely well. They're amazing people."

Doctors believe that Lauren Holiday should return to full health.

"If you had to choose a person to be able to deal with this and go through it, it would be Lauren Holiday," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "She's a very, very tough individual. Having Jrue there for support is very important. In our case, we told Jrue to forget about the basketball part of it. This is where you take care of your family. And we're going to welcome him back whenever he feels that it's time to come back and his family is in good hands. To me, that's the most important thing."

Gentry said the team is still discussing ways to fill Jrue Holiday's void. Holiday was limited to a combined 74 games in his first two seasons in New Orleans because of right-leg injuries, but he broke through in 2015-16, averaging 16.8 points and six assists in 65 games. His season was cut short after he fractured an orbital wall of his right eye during a game.

This offseason, the Pelicans signed guards E'Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway, re-signed point guard Tim Frazier, signed swingman Lance Stephenson to a partially guaranteed contract and drafted guard Buddy Hield.

"We'll do a lot of switching lineups and putting guys in different situations and different positions, and we'll come to a conclusion as a coaching staff," Gentry said. "I think what you will see is a lot of versatility in the way we play, because we have those kind of players."