Nic Batum’s wild day didn’t exactly conclude the way he had hoped.
The Charlotte Hornets forward’s achy left foot and ankle didn’t quite hold up, forcing him to sit the entire second half of their 95-90 loss to the Miami Heat Friday night.
Batum came off the bench and logged only 14:44, going 2 of 5 from the floor and finishing with six points just hours after his wife gave birth to their son Aiden.
“I tried, I tried,” Batum said. “The foot is huge. I tried everything. I tried hard, but I can’t push side to side. I was hurting the team much more than I was helping the team. So I told coach if you need me in the second half, call me. But it’s tough. Since Game 2, I’ve tried to come back, I’ve tried to do everything to come back and help the team, but I am not. So it’s a very tough situation for me right now.”
Batum, who missed games 3 and 4 of the series nursing the injury before returning to play key minutes in the Hornets’ Game 5 victory in Miami, initially thought he would be healthy enough to help.
“Yeah, I woke up OK,” he said. “I was very, very sore after the game (Wednesday) and the next day, but I got treatment (Thursday) and I was like, ‘OK, I could go tonight. But the pain was getting worse than two nights ago in Game 5. I tried and I fell too much on it.”
Batum was somber and frustrated, knowing how much the Hornets rely on his playmaking ability to alleviate some of the pressure off of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin. Not being on the floor with his teammates wasn’t easy to stomach and was the latest crazy moment in what’s been a roller coaster few days for Batum.
“It’s a tough week because I lost his grandma a couple of days ago, too, so that was a strange week,” Batum said. “I hurt me knee, I hurt my foot, then I lost my grandmother, then I got my son. So it’s been tough to relax.”
Batum couldn’t say for sure if he will be able to play in the series’ deciding game.
“We will see how I feel (Saturday) and Sunday,” Batum said. “But you don’t want to miss a Game 7. So we’ll see.”