Charlotte Hornets

Hornets’ Nicolas Batum to miss 8-12 weeks with elbow injury

The Hornets’ Nicolas Batum will miss 8-12 weeks with an elbow injury.

The Charlotte Hornets suffered a major blow Thursday when the team learned that swingman Nicolas Batum will miss at least two months due to an elbow injury. Batum was injured during the early minutes of Charlotte’s second preseason game, a two-point win over the Detroit Pistons.

Batum has been an integral part of the Charlotte roster since joining the team via trade in 2015, averaging 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game last season. His 3-point shooting and defensive versatility have been extremely valuable for the Hornets over the last two years.

The 28-year-old suffered a torn ligament in his left elbow and could miss up to 12 weeks of action, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania:

Charlotte will sorely miss Batum’s versatility while he’s out, but the shooting guard position is one of relative strength for the Hornets. His absence will likely thrust sixth-year guard Jeremy Lamb into a starting role while also opening up more playing time for prized rookie Malik Monk.

Lamb (18 points) and Monk (19 points) were Charlotte’s top two scorers last night after Batum went down, and both possess intriguing offensive skills. Charlotte selected Monk with the 11th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, a pick that some considered to present excellent value thanks to the Kentucky product’s knack for scoring in bunches.

Batum’s role as a facilitator might be the most challenging to fill. Averaging nearly six assists per game in each of his two seasons with Charlotte, Batum enabled the offense to flow through him at times. Point guard Kemba Walker is coming off his best season as a pro, but he’s not a pure point in the traditional sense of the term.

Batum was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 25th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft before being moved to the Portland Trail Blazers on draft night. The Frenchman spent the first seven years of his NBA career with Portland before being traded to Charlotte.

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