Hornets’ Kemba Walker Out 6 Weeks After Surgery
The Charlotte Hornets were just starting to get healthy and were beginning to turn their disappointing season around. They got Lance Stephenson and Al Jefferson back and had ripped off eight wins in their last 10 games. Then they found out star point guard Kemba Walker’s brief absence from the starting lineup took a turn for the worse.
Dealing with a cyst in his knee he’s had since high school, Walker sat out a handful of games before the team suggested he get surgery to fully repair his issue with his knee. Ultimately Walker gave in and after a second opinion, underwent a successful surgery on Wednesday and will face an estimated six weeks of rehab.
Charlotte had just wormed their way back into the playoff picture and at the time of this writing is hanging onto the Eastern Conference’s 8th and final playoff spot. That’s the spot they occupied last season, before being ousted by the Miami Heat.
The Hornets had hopes of climbing even further, as two teams above them in the standings have less than 25 wins (Charlotte has 19). With a healthy Walker and the rest of their key players back, the Hornets were slowly starting to round into form again as a pesky defensive squad that could kill you with a steady, direct tempo on offense.
Without Walker, the Hornets could be looking at another story and could miss the playoffs altogether. The six-week timetable would get Walker back in time for the Hornets to make their final playoff push, but it’s worth wondering if that won’t be too late.
There’s nothing the Hornets can do now but press on, and the good news is they do have some other talent in Stephenson and Jefferson that can step up. Brian Roberts is the direct replacement at the point, but Stephenson’s versatility could have him operating the offense at times, while the Hornets are rumored to also be interested in adding another veteran presence via free agency or trade.
As for their playoff hopes, the Hornets will need to get all they can out of Jefferson down low on offense, while the rest of the team will have to work together to get back to playing elite defense. If neither of those can happen, the Hornets may fall right back out of the NBA playoff picture.
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