Before a torn labrum forced him to miss the final 24 games of the season, New Orleans Hornets backup forward/center Jason Smith's unrelenting desire to hustle made an impact on his teammates.

He played through injuries, dived after loose balls, ran down rebounds and carried out duties as an enforcer in the post without hesitation. Whether it was an extended practice session or if the Hornets trailed by 25, Smith played with all-out effort.

"Jason has only one motor, which is to go hard,'' said rookie forward Anthony Davis. "It's good to have somebody like that because he helps us because guys are not going to back off you in games. So we needed that in practice.''

While some players have a low pain threshold and desire to sit out games if they are not 100 percent healthy, Smith is the complete opposite. He played with a torn labrum for almost three months before he re-injured his right shoulder in a Feb. 26 game against the Brooklyn Nets that ended his season.

Smith initially injured his shoulder during a Dec. 12 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder when he blocked an attempted dunk by forward Kevin Durant. But he decided to avoid surgery in December and play though the pain to keep from missing significant time. Smith played although he said that he felt extensive pain in shoulder when opposing players would collide into him or when he extended his arm to make a block attempt.

"I just pulled the plug. I couldn’t do it anymore, as far as making him play when he was that sore, with the hopes that he would feel better,” Hornets Coach Monty Williams said after Smith re-injured his shoulder in February. "He's dealt with stuff for a long time.''