The Charlotte Hornets opened their season on Wednesday with a 121-114 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a mixed bag for the Hornets, as Terry Rozier had a career-high 42 points in the loss, while LaMelo Ball struggled in his NBA debut, but most concerning was the early exit from center Cody Zeller with a fractured left hand.
On Thursday, Zeller had surgery in New York to repair the fracture and, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, will miss 4-6 weeks with the injury.
After surgery on his fractured left hand in New York today, Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 24, 2020
In a shortened 72-game season, missing extended time is even more impactful in terms of the percentage of a team’s games a player will miss, and Zeller will likely not return until February. This will mean extended minutes for Bismack Biyombo as well as some more opportunity for Miles Bridges in small-ball lineups with PJ Washington playing some center.
It’s yet another unfortunate injury for Zeller, a player who has struggled to stay on the floor throughout his career through various ailments and injuries. Last year was one of the first that he was healthy all season before the stoppage in March and the Hornets had high hopes for this season with Zeller being flanked by a veteran like Gordon Hayward. Hopefully he’ll be able to make a full and swift recovery on the shorter end of that window, but expect Charlotte to play it safe with his health.