The Charlotte Hornets finally have some clarity on the status of injured point guard Kemba Walker – it’s not good, either. The team announced that its crunch-time assassin will have surgery on Wednesday to replace a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Below is the pertinent portion of Charlotte’s press release, courtesy of its official website:
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker received a second opinion on his left knee today in New York. Dr. David Altchek confirmed Hornets team orthopedic physician Dr. Marcus Cook’s previous diagnosis of a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Walker will undergo surgery, performed by Dr. Altchek, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 28. A timeline for his recovery will be determined following surgery.
Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker will have surgery in New York Wednesday to remove a cyst that has been causing inflammation in his left knee.
The procedure could cause Walker to miss the next six weeks or more of the Hornets’ season
Walker traveled to New York Monday to get a second opinion on the injury before deciding how to proceed. That examination confirmed the need to remove the cyst, which Walker has had since high school…
“He’s been by far our best player,” [coach Steve] Clifford said. “Look at the Cavs without LeBron (James) or OKC without (Kevin) Durant. In basketball you have only five guys playing. It always starts at the top of your roster.
Walker isn’t close to the caliber of player that Clifford invokes, of course, but the coach’s point remains nonetheless. The offense-challenged Hornets count on the fourth-year guard for a lion’s share of perimeter playmaking, and will sorely miss his ability to create shots – for himself or his teammates.
The Connecticut product isn’t the player who strung together six consecutive games of at least 28 points early this month, but his impact looms large nonetheless. Charlotte’s offensive rating is 99.1 with Walker on the floor this season and a team-worst 95.8 when he’s on the bench.
However, Clifford understands his team is hardly doomed. The 19-26 Hornets are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, and the tenth-place Detroit Pistons are dealing with a point guard injury of their own. And the Brooklyn Nets, sandwiched between Charlotte and Detroit, are not only struggling but also looking to unload multiple key players.
There’s still a worthwhile chance for Charlotte to make the playoffs in its first re-branded season, basically, and Michael Jordan surely wants to take advantage – especially because it appears Walker could be ready to play come spring.
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Jordan and Rich Cho are already exploring trade possibilities to help achieve that goal:
Walker is a huge piece of the Hornets’ puzzle. He won’t be easily replaced. But weakness of the Eastern Conference allows for the likelihood that Charlotte could stay abuzz while its star recovers.
Adding a player like Sessions or Cole alone won’t be the answer alone, but merely the potential part of a bigger solution. What that is we’re not exactly sure, but the Hornets are smart to realize Walker’s unfortunate status doesn’t quite render their playoff hopes lost.
What do you think?
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