After just one game, Cody Zeller has gone down with a potentially serious injury.
Last night’s season opener was a very mixed bag for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets. While Terry Rozier played the game of his life, rookie sensation LaMelo Ball was held scoreless in his debut as the Hornets fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Gordon Hayward still recovering from a preseason knock he picked up, the Hornets were dealt more bad injury news relating to center Cody Zeller.
Zeller fractured his hand in the loss to Cleveland. While Zeller wasn’t exactly playing like Alonzo Mourning against the Cavaliers or over the last few seasons, Charlotte will be down their starting center for some time, which could be a major problem for James Borrego.
Cody Zeller has been a fixture in Charlotte over the years
The brother of veteran big Tyler Zeller, Cody was picked 4th overall out of Indiana in the 2013 NBA Draft. While Zeller has never been statistically excellent, as his averages of 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in his seventh season last year were both the highest in his career, he has given the Hornets some stability at the center position. Injuries have been a problem for him, as he has only played 63 or more games once in his career, and that was as a rookie.
Bismack Biyombo is the most likely candidate to fill in for Zeller at center, but Hornets fans won’t be too thrilled about that given his limited offensive potential. The Hornets invested two second-round picks in centers, grabbing Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. and Kentucky’s Nick Richards. While both of them didn’t play last night, they could see an uptick in minutes with Zeller out.
Just when things were starting to look up in Charlotte, they lose a veteran starter and solid rebounder in the first game of the season. Unless Rozier puts up 42 every night, Charlotte could be destined for some very poor performances with or without Zeller in the lineup.