NBA-TV analyst Steve Smith hoped when his network televised an open New Orleans Hornets training camp practice last month he would get a chance to see shooting guard Eric Gordon work alongside rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.

Smith is still waiting because Gordon missed the entire preseason and there remains uncertainty if he will play against the San Antonio Spurs in Wednesday night's season opener at the New Orleans Arena. Gordon said after Tuesday's practice there are no guarantees that will allow him to play against the Spurs because of his right knee.

Despite his injury problems, Smith said Gordon is the key to the Hornets having a successful season. Gordon's ability to draw attention from the defenses is why Smith thinks he is vital.

"He's not a one-dimensional player,'' Smith said. "He can get out and finish with the basketball. You can also put the ball in his hands and he can make plays.''

The Hornets matched the Phoenix Suns' four-year, $58 million offer sheet to retain Gordon this summer when he was a restricted free agent. Though Hornets Coach Monty Williams considers Gordon their best player, the Hornets are getting more exposure because of Davis and fellow rookie Austin Rivers.