NBA

Gordon Hayward injury update: Hornets star sidelined at least four weeks with right foot sprain

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The Charlotte Hornets suffered a big blow during their game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, as forward Gordon Hayward left the game with a foot injury. On Saturday, the Hornets announced that Hayward suffered a right foot sprain, and that he would be reevaluated in approximately four weeks. 

From the Hornets: 

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that forward Gordon Hayward has suffered a right foot sprain.  The injury was sustained during the second quarter of last night’s win over the Indiana Pacers. The initial diagnosis was confirmed via a physician’s exam and studies today in Indianapolis. He will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks and further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate.

Hayward is averaging 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 34.0 minutes per game over the course of 44 appearances (all starts) this season with the Hornets. The 11th-year forward is shooting 41.4% from the three-point line. Hayward set a career-high in scoring on Jan. 6 vs. Atlanta with 44 points and has totaled 20 or more points in 20 outings this season. The Butler product was originally acquired by Charlotte in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics on Nov. 29, 2020. 

The injury occurred in the second quarter of the contest against the Pacers when Hayward drove at center Myles Turner. He stepped on Turner’s foot and immediately crumpled to the floor. He quickly went back to the locker room and was ruled out for the rest of the game.  You can see the play where the injury occurred below: 

The Hornets signed Hayward to a four-year, $128 million contract last offseason, and its success or failure was always going to be predicated largely on health. Hayward has played at a near-All-Star level this season in more of a ball-handling role, but given his age (30) and track record with injuries, the deal carried significant risk. 

Fortunately, this is just a sprain. The worst outcomes were avoided. But the Hornets don’t exactly have time to let Hayward recover. LaMelo Ball is already sidelined indefinitely with a fractured wrist, and with less than two months remaining, the No. 4 seeded Hornets are in the midst of a tight battle for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. They currently lead the No. 7-seeded Knicks by just 1.5 games. The East is so cluttered that even a single bad stretch could be the difference between a playoff appearance or a lottery landing. Without Hayward and Ball for the foreseeable future, the Hornets will face a tough task when it comes to holding onto their current playoff position. 



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