Sometimes hustle can be a blessing and a curse. Fans of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are likely nodding their heads right now. You always want your favorite players to leave it all on the court, because it usually results in the best chance for your team winning. And of course, deep down you like to think if you had your chance, you'd do the same.
The rub comes when that extra effort leads to extra injuries. Typically when a player is streaking down the court for an easy fast-break layup, the closest defender jogs down and watches. Well, Cody Zeller isn't that type of player. At seven feet tall, he has the straight line speed of some point guards (seriously, his 3/4 court sprint time of 3.15 seconds recorded at the NBA draft combine was better than DraftExpress' average for the point guard position). On March 9, Zeller used that speed to chase-down Bradley Beal and make a highlight block. However, his momentum carried his body under the basket as his arm was on the backboard.
The team was originally hoping the shoulder would heal on its own and gave a four to six week timetable for Zeller's recovery. The end of that time-frame just happened to match up with the end of the season. When the doctors went back to examine the shoulder, it was determined that it had not healed on its own and surgery was needed. On April 22, Zeller underwent successful surgery to repair a tendon, as well as clean up some existing scar tissue. From that date fans were told recovery would take three months.
So you might be asking, why are you digging up this old news? Well at last week's Hornets open house event, Cody Zeller gave an interview with the Hornets' Matt Rochinski. Zeller said his recovery is going well and that he "feels really good, (and has a) bit more range of motion in it." Also he's visited personal trainers and doctors since the surgery and they're "all amazed at how far ahead of schedule" he is. While he can't shoot right now, he has been focusing on gaining strength in his lower body.
In addition, he elaborated on the original three month timetable. July 22 would technically be when Zeller was ready for an NBA game. This means he will hopefully be 100 percent for two months before training camp even begins. Zeller added in his interview that he hopes to be shooting after two months, which would mean by late June he could be working on his corner 3-point shot; the shot head coach Steve Clifford says he is "ready" to start taking.
This interview answered two questions that many Hornets fans had been asking? Why didn't Zeller get the surgery back in March, which would have given him more time for offseason work? And will this injury affect Zeller's ability to add to his game this offseason? Fans should be excited that Zeller is ahead of schedule in his recovery and that he will have plenty of time to work on his game this summer.