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Hornets: Gordon Hayward out at least four weeks with foot injury

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - APRIL 02: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets walks across the court before the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 02, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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The Hornets are a shocking fourth in the Eastern Conference.

That’ll be tough to maintain, though.

Charlotte’s arguably best two players – first LaMelo Ball and now Gordon Hayward – are injured.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that forward Gordon Hayward has suffered a right foot sprain. The injury was sustained during the second quarter of last night’s win over the Indiana Pacers. The initial diagnosis was confirmed via a physician’s exam and studies today in Indianapolis. He will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks and further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate.

The Hornets are up just 1.5 games on eighth place. Charlotte has probably gotten a little lucky, having been outscored on the season. Backup guard Malik Monk is also out with a sprained ankle. There’s plenty of room to fall.

Especially without Hayward, who was having a strong season after signing a controversially large contract last offseason.

If dropping to seventh or eighth at the end of the regular season, Charlotte might even miss the playoffs. Seventh- and eighth-place teams must now fend off the ninth- and 10th-place teams in a play-in tournament.

Cody Martin (and maybe Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels) could see more playing time with Hayward sidelined. Even more responsibility will fall onto guard Terry Rozier, who’s having a quality season himself. This is the role he long desired.