JANUARY 3: Zeller underwent successful surgery on the third metacarpal of his right hand today, the team announced in a press release. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks of action.
DECEMBER 31: The Hornets lost their starting center tonight when Cody Zeller suffered a fracture to his right hand, according to a tweet from the team. He left the game with Orlando for X-rays midway through the third quarter.
Zeller has been effective since reclaiming the first-string center role this year, averaging 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in about 24 minutes per night. New coach James Borrego placed an emphasis on keeping Zeller healthy all the way back to preseason, notes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Zeller played in just 33 games last season.
There’s no immediate word on how long Zeller will be sidelined, but the Hornets will likely continue their committee approach to the position until he returns. Willy Hernangomez, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky and Bismack Biyombo have all seen time in the middle.
“Cody’s so valuable to us on so many levels,” Borrego said. “… Willy is capable. Frank and Biz have started before. All three are capable starters in this league. We’re deep at that position. MKG and Marvin have also played some [center].” (Twitter link)