New Orleans Pelicans mascot, Pierre, suffered a broken beak on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Pelicans Practice Facility during a pickup game of basketball with fellow NBA mascots Grizz (Memphis Grizzlies), Rocky (Denver Nuggets) and Slamson (Sacramento Kings), as well as NFL mascot, Gumbo (New Orleans Saints).
The injury occurred late in the pickup game as Pierre drove to the basket and was fouled by Grizz on the play. He sustained a broken beak after running into the padded stanchion on the goal.
Later today, Pierre will have surgery at Ochsner Medical Center to reconstruct the broken beak. Pelicans Team Physician Dr. Mathew McQueen will perform the surgery.
“This will be a rather unconventional surgery for us. I am not sure we have something to compare this to,” said McQueen. “It will be quite complicated and will require the use of some unconventional tools and instruments to reconstruct his beak.”
In order to ensure that Pierre receives the best care from the most experienced professionals, Carolyn Atherton, Curator of Birds for the Audubon Zoo, teamed up with McQueen to develop the best plan of treatment.
“We do see a lot of head trauma cases with pelicans. Since they are the plunge-divers, sometimes they’ll hit sharp objects and a lot of times, they’ll have tears in their pouch or even eye problems,” she said. “We’ve had quite a few pelicans we’ve treated for injuries similar to Pierre’s. After they’ve been treated, they’ve all come back looking bigger, stronger, faster and ready to take on the world.”