Charlotte Hornets lose Lamb and Zeller to injury vs Magic

Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Lamb (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Lamb (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets picked up a win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night, but lost key starters Jeremy Lamb and Cody Zeller to injury in the process.

While watching the Charlotte Hornets get a win against a fellow Eastern Conference playoff threat in the Orlando Magic on Monday night was great, fans couldn’t help but feel bittersweet after the victory.

I say that because while the Hornets won the game, they lost Jeremy Lamb and Cody Zeller in the process. Lamb exited the game in the first quarter and did not return due to a right hamstring strain, while Zeller left the game in the third quarter with a fractured right hand.

Before leaving with injury, Lamb started the game on fire, scoring nine points on 4-4 shooting in nine minutes. Zeller had 14 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes before exiting with the hand injury.

Lamb’s timetable is currently unclear, but Zeller is certain to miss a good chunk of time. Rajon Rondo of the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a fractured hand back in November, and that would cause him to miss 17 games of action.

The hamstring strain for Lamb isn’t as serious compared to Zeller’s hand, but it should be noted that hamstring injuries are typically tough to shake. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Lamb miss multiple games.

These two injuries come at a horrible time for the Charlotte Hornets, who are in the midst of a tight playoff race. Both players are key starters for this team. Lamb is the team’s second leading scorer at just over 15 points per game and Zeller is a guy who does all the dirty work inside.

In Lamb’s absence, Malik Monk and rookie Devonte’ Graham really stepped up. Graham started in his place during the second half. Monk finished the game with 21 points off the bench, where as Graham chipped in 10 points. Those two figure to be the main beneficiary of Lamb’s minutes if he misses any time.

Willy Hernangomez stepped up once Zeller exited the game, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. He’ll be the next big man up for the Hornets, and we could even see them continue to use Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at center in small-ball lineups.

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The Charlotte Hornets will be back in action on Wednesday night, where they will be hosting the Dallas Mavericks. We will see how the Hornets prepare for life without Zeller for the foreseeable future, and maybe Lamb, too.