The Charlotte Hornets suffered another huge injury-related setback after it was announced on April 4th that star forward Gordon Hayward will be out at least 4 weeks with a right foot sprain. This comes after the March injury of leading Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball. These injuries come at a very inopportune time for the Hornets as the playoff race heats up.
If you’re a sports bettor, this injury is certainly one to take note of. Hayward is arguably the Hornets’ best player, a do-it-all-forward who can shoot, handle, and dish. This will heavily impact the Hornets’ odds going forward, as they are seriously injury depleted. Staying up to date with these types of injuries is important to betting strategy. If you’re looking for more info on topics like these, there are many different guides to NBA betting that can help you with your gambling decisions.
The Hornets currently sit at 5th in the Eastern Conference at the time of writing, but many teams are waiting in the wings close behind them. The Hornets are only one game back from the 8th seed, and four back from the 10th seed. If the Hornets crumble following the loss of Hayward, their hopes for a playoff run will go out the window.
Following the signing of a massive 4 year, $128 million contract that was widely ridiculed, Hayward has shown that he has a lot more gas left in the tank than people believed this year. He has blended seamlessly with the Charlotte team that is one of the most exciting to watch in the league right now.
Hayward is averaging 19.6 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and 4.1 assists per game this year, all while shooting 47% from the field and 41% from three. These are extremely solid numbers worthy of the exorbitant contract he signed, and it was equating to winning basketball for the Hornets.
Hayward has meshed extremely well with the core that was in place in Charlotte, and the Hornets were one of the season’s best stories, with Hayward, Ball, and several other Hornets fueling a surprising rise. With Hayward out for at least 4 weeks, the Hornets are likely without him for the rest of the regular season, and perhaps the start of playoffs if the Hornets make it.
With Hayward out, an even heavier scoring load will fall on guard Terry Rozier, who has had a breakout season with Charlotte thus far. Averaging a surprising 20.4 points per game to lead the Hornets in scoring, the 26-year-old Rozier has turned into a marksman and a lead scorer in the 6th year of his NBA career.
Another player who will have to handle a bigger role is forward Miles Bridges, who is likely to move into the starting line-up. Bridges is a high-flying wing who has been all over highlight reels this season, but with Hayward out, he’s going to have to become more than a talented dunker. The 3rd year forward is averaging an efficient 10 points per game with 6 rebounds off the bench this year, but stepping into the starting line-up, he’ll have to cover for some of Hayward’s production if the Hornets want to remain competitive.
While the Hornets have been one of the best stories of the NBA season so far, injuries might’ve shut the door on this team’s chance to make any noise. With Ball not coming back until next season, and Hayward unlikely to make it back before the playoffs at the earliest, this team is arguably down two of their three best players.
Hayward has a history of injuries, so rehab will be nothing new for him. Here’s to hoping NBA fans and bettors alike will see Hayward back on the hardwood soon.