The Charlotte Hornets are not a good basketball team. In fact, they are a very bad basketball team. They are so bad, in fact, that they are currently tied for the fewest wins in the league, having been victorious just 10 times in 38 tries this season.
However, many of Charlotte’s struggles can be attributed to the unavailability of their key players, mostly due to injury and some (Miles Bridges) due to far more serious circumstances. Every NBA team deals with injuries, but the injury bug seems to have bitten the Hornets particularly hard this year; five of their top seven scorers from a season ago have missed time while injured.
It is unreasonable to blame the Hornets for players getting injured. If anything, the team should be judged on a bit of a curve due to injuries. However, the way the Hornets have handled these injuries this season has been questionable at best, and Kelly Oubre Jr.’s recent hand injury is just the latest example.
After missing Charlotte’s last two games with what was described as a “left hand sprain”, Oubre Jr. is now set to miss an extended period of time with his real injury: a torn ligament in his left hand.
Oubre Jr. is not the first Charlotte player to have a misdiagnosed injury this season. Cody Martin suffered a “quad injury” in the season opener but has still not returned as his injury eventually required knee surgery. Meanwhile, Gordon Hayward missed time with “shoulder soreness” and was visibly limited in his brief return before being diagnosed with a shoulder fracture.
Beyond the misdiagnosed injuries, guards LaMelo Ball and Dennis Smith Jr. have both battled injury this season. In a bit of twisted irony, Ball returned early from his sprained ankle due to Smith Jr. being out with his own sprained ankle, only for Ball to reinjure himself.
Is all of this injury misfortune a coincidence? Or is all of this a result of a team desperate to climb to the 10th seed and willing to cut corners in their quest to get there? While Kelly Oubre Jr.’s injury creates new questions surrounding his trade market and the immediate outlook for Charlotte, it also symbolizes the perpetual dysfunction that has unfortunately come to represent this Charlotte Hornets franchise.