One guy has missed every Charlotte Bobcats game this season. The other will miss every game remaining.
These arent typical nicks that cost a player a game or two. Center Brendan Haywood is rehabbing from a stress fracture in his left foot discovered during the preseason. Small forward Jeff Taylor is early in recovery from a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
The worst thing about these injuries wasnt the surgeries or daily rehabilitation. Its the sense of helplessness, watching teammates try to get the Bobcats into the playoffs, according to Taylor.
I know Im not coming back at all this year. Thats weird. Thats tough, said Taylor, who suffered the injury Dec. 20 against the Detroit Pistons. Were having a really good year, relative to the last couple. It would be really fun to be out there with the guys trying to get us to the playoffs.
Haywood has similar emotions, amplified by age and mileage. At 34 he has already played 12 NBA seasons.
When you get older and you lose a big part of the season, it really hurts because you understand you dont get these back, Haywood said.
Haywood hopes to start playing sometime in the next few weeks, but a fracture isnt something you can rush.
Its not like an (anterior cruciate ligament), where you can double up the work and get back quicker, Haywood said. You really cant do anything for it.
So he has been slowly cleared to increase his activity. Currently, he can jog, shoot, do some light jumping and start weight training with his legs. Every so often his foot doctor takes another CT scan to gauge the healing.
At 7 feet tall, hes a legitimate rim protector and one of the more savvy players on this team. Can he have a role once he returns to the active roster about two-thirds of the way into the season?
Coach Steve Clifford and Haywood both think so because of the centers experience.
For me, its not going to be a learning process, Haywood said. The young guy is trying to get into shape and learn where to be. For me its just getting into game shape where I can go 10 to 15 minutes a game to give Al (Jefferson) a blow.
Taylor doesnt have that sort of short-term goal. At best, hell complete his rehab in late May or early June.
Last summer Taylor quickly impressed Clifford with his work ethic. He reinforced that impression when he opted to have surgery just two days after the injury. Clifford said he would have understood if Taylor put that off until after Christmas.
If something was wrong with me, I wanted to get it fixed as soon as possible, Taylor said. Christmas didnt really matter or New Years.
Following surgery, Taylor couldnt put any weight on his right leg for four weeks. Now he can walk around in a protective boot fitted with adjustable heel lifts that keep his foot angled downward.
Two of the three lifts have been removed. The third is scheduled to be removed Sunday. Then he goes to a shoe, also equipped with a series of lifts. If all goes well, he can discard that shoe in late March, approximately 12 weeks after surgery.
The projected recovery time for a ruptured Achilles is six to nine months. Taylor is confident hell be on the short side of that timeline.
Ive always been a really fast healer. Dont know why Id think any differently about this, Taylor said. Late May/early June, I think Ill be fine, but I wont push it and hurt myself again. The main goal is to be healthy for training camp.
Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less