Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum will miss at least six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his left elbow suffered during Wednesday’s preseason game.
Tests on Thursday confirmed the extent of the injury, and Batum is expected to seek second opinions to determine if surgery will be necessary. He was injured during the first minute of Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
The injury is a partial tear in the ulnar collateral ligament, which in baseball commonly leads to “Tommy John” surgery for pitchers. However, it is not typically as serious an injury for basketball players that don’t put the same stress on their elbows.
“He just got tangled up. It was one of those kind of contact/collision plays where his arm got stuck between two guys,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford told the Charlotte Observer.
Batum, 28, averaged 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 77 games for the Hornets last season. He was acquired by Charlotte in a 2015 trade with the Portland Trail Blazer, and signed a five-year, $120 million contract to stay with the Hornets in last year. Batum is scheduled to earn nearly $21 million this season.
The 6-foot-8 Batum was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of France.
Jeremy Lamb will start in Batum’s absence, with Michael Carter-Williams and rookie Malik Monk also in line for increased minutes.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing; Nic was having such a good offseason,” Clifford said. “But that’s why you have a 14- or 15-man roster. Jeremy has had a good summer. Now is his opportunity to expand on that.”