Hornets Notes: Martin, Miller, Injuries, Smith

A nearly year-long absence ended for Hornets forward Cody Martin when he returned to the court Saturday night, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Martin came off the bench to score six points in 17 minutes in his first NBA game since January 14.

After appearing in just seven games last season, Martin had a long road back after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Boone notes that he was limited to individual drills in training camp and has been slowly increasing his activity level to the point where he was recently able to be a full participant in practice.

“Specifics-wise, I could go and talk about it all day with just trying to figure out what the exact reasoning is, and the reality of it is I know that I wasn’t right,” said Martin, who admits to being frustrated by the slow recovery process. “My body wasn’t feeling good. I was having pain and I wasn’t feeling like myself. And it was a variety of different things. It’s tough, especially when you are out that long. It’s tough when you know you are not yourself and you are preparing and doing everything you can, and you are still not there. You want to get back out there, but in reality you are not helping yourself or helping your team. So the best thing I can do is make sure that I am myself so that I can contribute the way I need to.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Even with Martin’s return, the Hornets continue to be plagued by injuries, Boone states in a separate story. With starters LaMelo Ball, Mark Williams and Terry Rozier already sidelined, the team got another scare as rookie Brandon Miller was forced out of Saturday’s game when Denver’s Peyton Watson landed on him after a drive to the basket in the first quarter. Miller didn’t return to the game and is considered day-to-day with a sprained right ankle.
  • The injuries have contributed to a seven-game losing streak, but the players believe they can be much better than their current 7-20 record if the roster ever gets healthy, Boone adds. The Hornets have 114 missed games due to injuries, second only to Memphis, and seven players have been inactive for five or more. “Our defense and our rebounding is getting better,” Miles Bridges said. “So we’ve just got to build off that and when we get those guys back it will help us even more so we can start putting these Ws up.”
  • Nick Smith Jr. thrilled the Charlotte crowd with a 17-point outburst in the fourth quarter Saturday night, per Shane Connuck of The Charlotte Observer. The rookie guard has seen limited playing time, but he showed he’s capable of providing an offensive spark. “He’s got to get better at the other things so that the team functions well when he’s out on the court; he knows that,” coach Steve Clifford said. “But he’s a shot maker. And tonight, he got going.”
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