Nicolas Batum could miss remainder of Heat series
Could this be au revoir to the Charlotte Hornets’ postseason hopes?
According to a report by Justin Verrier of ESPN on Thursday, Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum could miss the remainder of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat with a sprained right ankle.
Batum was injured in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 115-103 Game 2 loss when he stepped on the foot of Heat rookie Justise Winslow and was forced to exit the game.
Here is video of the injury:
Per Verrier, Hornets big man Al Jefferson does not expect Batum to be back this series, saying, “It looked bad when it happened, looking at his ankle now, it’s pretty bad. That’s part of the game. I feel like, me, personally, I don’t think he will be able to come back.”
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford was similarly worried, saying that he was “very” concerned about Batum’s injury.
Batum, 27, finished the regular season with averages of 14.9 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, and 5.8 assists per game. He looked like the best acquisition of the offseason by a mile as his playmaking, floor-spacing style of play helped transform a once-rotten Hornets offense into a top-10 team in offensive efficiency in 2015-16, per ESPN.
Also a pesky, smart defender and an excellent rebounder for his position, Batum is essentially irreplaceable for Charlotte. If he is indeed unavailable for the remainder of the series, we can basically wrap this one up with a bow on top for Miami.
Video via NBA Reddit
Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports