In a summer that’s given Charlotte Hornets fans Dwight Howard, Frank Kaminsky fast balls, and a Rich Cho food blog, we’ve been deprived of the player that arguably generated the most hype — Malik Monk. An ankle injury kept him out of Orlando Summer League, leaving us unable to watch him in a Hornets uniform, and preventing us from prematurely drawing conclusions about his game.
But it appears he’s nearly ready to come back. Monk spoke with media at an autograph signing in Kentucky, and among other things, explained that his target date to return is Tuesday, August 1st. He still hasn’t been fully cleared to resume basketball activities, but it sounds like he’ll be re-evaluated on Tuesday and hopefully given the all clear.
The injury frustrated him, to the point that he didn’t even watch summer league (same, if we’re being honest). He also reiterated the team’s intentions to try him at point guard, and doubled down on beating Michael Jordan one-on-one, smartly pointing to the fact that, “He’s pretty old right now.”
Setting aside that Jordan might be able to pull the upset given the current status of Monk’s ankle, the recovery timetable of 2-4 weeks seems about on course with the announcement coming on June 27th. So from what we know right now, there’s no reason to panic.
Nonetheless, the injury was potentially a minor set back. Playing Monk at point guard in Orlando would’ve given the coaching staff game film to mule over, and they could’ve entered training camp with a better understanding of where Monk is playing the position, what he needs to work on, and how feasible it would be for him to play the position this season. We’ll likely see some experimenting during preseason, but that will go away once the season starts.
What’s most important, however, is that Monk is placed in the right role, regardless of where he plays. Overwhelming a rookie with too big a role isn’t good for anyone, and if Monk’s point guard days are something for future seasons and not the coming one, then he shouldn’t play there until he’s ready. Steve Clifford isn’t known for giving rookies heavy minutes until they’ve proven themselves able to contribute, so Monk is in good hands in this regard.
We’ll likely here more about Monk’s status as the week goes on, and will likely catch him in one of the team’s new Jordan Brand jerseys, which are set to be revealed today.