Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo missed practice Monday to be fitted for a protective mask, after he broke his nose in Saturday’s victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. The Hornets have lost 138 player-games to injury this season. They will be without three starters Tuesday against the Miami Heat when center Al Jefferson, small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and power forward Cody Zeller are again sidelined.
Biyombo is expected to play against the Heat. Coach Steve Clifford said at practice Monday that Biyombo would prefer not to play with the mask, but he had to be fitted for it as a precaution.
An update on each of the four most recent injuries to rotation players:
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He broke his nose in the last minute of a 92-91 victory over the 76ers, colliding with teammate Marvin Williams.
There was some initial concern Biyombo might have suffered a concussion, but he was able to re-enter the game with six seconds left when the Hornets got the stop that finished the game.
This is the third broken nose for a Hornet this season, after fractures for Zeller and Williams. Like those two, Biyombo might need corrective surgery to reset a bone.
Despite Clifford saying Friday it might be time to shut Jefferson down for the season, he is still trying to play so long as the Hornets’ dwindling playoff chances last.
Jefferson missed Saturday with his sore right knee, and Clifford said the earliest Jefferson might play is Friday on the road against the Atlanta Hawks. That would have him out for Tuesday in Miami and Wednesday at home against the Toronto Raptors.
Jefferson didn’t practice Monday, but Clifford said he did some cardio work in the swimming pool.
He missed his fifth consecutive game Saturday with a sprained left ankle and did not practice Monday.
Clifford said Saturday that Kidd-Gilchrist still has considerable swelling in his ankle. He was wearing a protective boot over the weekend.
Clifford said the earliest anticipates Kidd-Gilchrist playing is the game in Atlanta.
Zeller has missed nine games with a sprained right shoulder.
He practiced some Monday, but Clifford said Zeller is still finding it difficult to be effective raising his arm above his shoulder. So he, also, figures to miss the Heat and Raptors games.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell
Remaining games for the five teams vying for two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference (standings and records as of Monday morning).
7. (35-41) Brooklyn Nets – Trail Blazers*, Hawks, Wizards @Bucks, Bulls, Magic. Tiebreaker with Hornets: Nets won season series 2-1.
8. (35-42) Boston Celtics – at Pistons, at Cavaliers, Cavaliers, Raptors @Bucks. Tiebreaker with Hornets: Season series was 2-2. Hornets likely to win tiebreaker with superior Eastern Conference record.
9. (34-43) Indiana Pacers – at Knicks, at Pistons, Thunder, Wizards, @Grizzlies. Tiebreaker with Hornets: Pacers won season series 3-1.
10. (34-43) Miami Heat – Hornets, Bulls, Raptors, Magic, @76ers. Tiebreaker with Hornets: Hornets lead season series 2-1, would clinch tiebreaker by winning Tuesday.
11.(33-43) Charlotte Hornets – at Heat, Raptors, at Hawks, at Pistons, Rockets, @Raptors.
* Played Monday night