The Charlotte Hornets have been hit with another absence just days after LaMelo Ball returned to the court. Forward Miles Bridges will reportedly miss 10 to 14 days due to the league's health and safety protocols, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The loss comes at an awful time for the Hornets. At 31-33, the team is in a tight race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It's unclear whether the Hornets will have Bridges back for the team's final eight games of the regular season. If Bridges returns after just 10 days, he would be available for the final two games of the regular season.
Bridges, 23, has put up solid numbers for the team, averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Hornets fighting for playoff spot
Things were looking up for the Hornets as recently as Saturday, when Ball returned from a fractured wrist. Ball — who was performing like a rookie of the year candidate — missed a month due to the injury. Ball has played two games since retuning. The Hornets have gone 1-1 in those contests.
The Hornets are fighting to try and get out of the play-in tournament. The Miami Heat currently sit in the sixth spot in the East with a 35-30 record. The Boston Celtics sit seventh with a 34-31 record. The Hornets, in the eighth spot, would have to make significant progress in eight games to leapfrog both teams.
With that in mind, hanging on to the No. 7 or No. 8 seed would be a significant boost for the Hornets to make the playoffs. If they secure one of those seeds, the Hornets would play a one-game matchup to determine whether they are the No. 7 seed in the postseason. If the Hornets lose that game, they still have another shot to make it in as the No. 8 seed.
Depending on how long Bridges is sidelined, he may or may not be available for the play-in tournament.
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