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Hornets’ Nicolas Batum expected to make season debut after elbow injury, per coach

Steve Clifford says Batum will play on Wednesday, although he will have a minute’s restriction.

New Orleans Pelicans v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Nicolas Batum is expected to make his season debut after tearing a ligament in his left elbow in early October during a preseason game. Batum’s timetable was originally listed as eight to 12 weeks, but his return is now happening in seven.

Batum will have a minute’s restriction.

Original post, Oct. 5:

Hornets forward Nicolas Batum tore a ligament in his left elbow during Charlotte’s 108-106 preseason win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania. He will miss eight-to-12 weeks in recovery.

Batum injured his elbow in the first minute of the first quarter on Wednesday, and the only available video barely shows any contact:

His absence will be a blow to a Hornets team looking to bounce back into the playoff picture after their season came crashing down midway through last year.

Batum averaged 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists last season on subpar shooting numbers of 33 percent from downtown and 40 percent from the field. But he’s a versatile defender and playmaker that the Hornets will miss.

This offseason, Charlotte added electrifying rookie scorer Malik Monk and traded for Dwight Howard, who is now grabbing rebounds and going coast-to-coast for dunks. Batum’s presence would have made for a difficult starting five with Kemba Walker at the helm.

Instead, head coach Steve Clifford can choose to insert Monk or Jeremy Lamb into the starting lineup. Charlotte could also lean on the free agent market.