Nicolas Batum to Return from Elbow Injury, Make Season Debut vs. Cavs

When the Charlotte Hornets take the court against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, they’ll have Nicolas Batum for the first time this season.

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford confirmed the news Tuesday, saying only a “drastic” change will keep Batum out of the lineup, according to the Charlotte Observer‘s Rick Bonnell.

The Hornets announced in October that Batum was set to miss the first six to eight weeks of the regular season after suffering a torn UCL.  

He did a ton yesterday, and he feels good today,” Clifford said. “He feels good and he looks good.”

Clifford added he isn’t yet sure what kind of minutes restriction the 28-year-old will have in his return to the court.

Batum’s injury has provided Charlotte with a silver lining. His absence forced Jeremy Lamb to assume a starting role, and Lamb has been excellent in his sixth season.

He’s averaging 16.7 points per game—second-most on the team behind Kemba Walker (21.7). Lamb is also shooting 45.7 percent from beyond the arc, which is substantially higher than his career average (33.2 percent).

Getting Batum back is obviously good news for the Hornets, but it still presents Clifford with a headache in how to re-integrate the Frenchman into the rotation while putting Lamb in a position to continue his hot start. 

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