The Charlotte Hornets have announced that Cody Zeller will miss a minimum of one week while he recovers from a sprained ligament in his right shoulder.
The @hornets announce Cody Zeller will miss at least another week with a sprained ligament in his right shoulder.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) January 24, 2016
Zeller was injured in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder when Russell Westbrook tried to block Zeller's dunk attempt. Originally Zeller tried to play through it, but he never returned after being examined. He has missed two games since the injury.
Zeller has been an incredibly important piece for the Hornets this season. Originally he came off the bench, but when Jefferson went down with injury Zeller stepped up and has played very well considering the circumstances. He's been a high energy guy for them off cuts, and has had moments where he was the most important player on the floor. However, there have been moments where he's struggled against bigger more traditional centers. Right now, Zeller is averaging nine points and six rebounds per game.
This is really bad news for an already injured Hornets team. They don't expect Al Jefferson to be back until most likely February, and Nicolas Batum is battling some injuries himself. This leaves the Hornets with a big man rotation of Spencer Hawes, Frank Kaminsky, Tyler Hansbrough, and Marvin Williams. Luckily for Charlotte it looks like Kaminsky is starting to understand the NBA game, and Hawes has been not terrible so far this season. Hansbrough is obviously an end of bench guy, but depth is the reason they signed him in the first place.
The Hornets are about to go on another Western Conference road trip against the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland TrailBlazers. Not a death row by any means, but DeMarcus Cousins is probably licking his chops at the idea of Hawes and Kaminsky guarding him.