Charlotte Hornets big man Cody Zeller initially suffered a bone bruise along his right knee during the team’s first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat in the spring. At the moment, Zeller is still receiving treatment and wasn’t cleared for contact drills during the preseason.
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford says it will be a while before Zeller is good to go, via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:
“He’s not even doing the non-contact stuff at this stage, so he has a long way to go,” said Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
Zeller has the rightful advantage as Charlotte’s starting center. He started 60 out of his 73 games played in 2015-16. With Zeller out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, new signee Roy Hibbert will likely assume that role. Hibbert started for the Hornets in preseason this week, and that could translate into the regular season given Zeller’s timetable.
Clifford does have other bigs to operate with — Frank Kaminsky, Spencer Hawes, Tyler Hansbrough — but Hibbert is his most true center option. None match the athleticism of Zeller, so compensating for his loss will probably require a committee effort on the part of Charlotte’s forwards and bigs.