Charlotte Hornets guard Nic Batum will be in Dallas Monday to consult with a specialist on whether to have surgery on the torn ligament in his left elbow.
However, Batum told the Observer Friday he does not believe this injury – suffered Wednesday in a preseason exhibition against the Detroit Pistons – will be season-ending.
“It’s going to be long, but not that long,” Batum said, following a dedication ceremony for basketball courts the Hornets refurbished off Tuckaseegee Road. “If it were my shooting arm, it would be a lot longer. At max, it’s three months.”
Batum said he hyper-extended his elbow when wedged between small forward Stanley Johnson and another Pistons player in the first minute of Wednesday’s exhibition.
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A magnetic resonance imaging Monday showed Batum suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-dominant) elbow. The Hornets announced Batum will miss a minimum of six to eight weeks with the injury.
This is not a common injury for basketball players. It’s far more common for baseball pitchers, generally requiring Tommy John surgery. But Batum wouldn’t be putting nearly the same force on his elbow as a pitcher, particularly the left one, so surgery is not automatic in this case.
“The plan is I’m going to get a second opinion with a specialist in Dallas Monday. From there, they will let me know if I need surgery or not,” said Batum, who anticipates a decision Tuesday.
“When I put my arms up, I feel something. If this were my shooting arm, it would be like a tragedy. It’s not and that’s good.”
Batum wore a wrap on his left elbow Friday, but was out of the sling he wore after Wednesday’s game.
“The first 15 minutes I was in REAL pain. I knew it was something bad,” Batum recalled. “The X ray was negative” for a fracture.
Batum was at practice Friday at Spectrum Center, rooting on teammates.
“This is a blow, for sure, but it doesn’t mean I’m not with the team. If I can walk, I can stay around the court and be there,” Batum said.
Batum chose to pass on playing for the French national team this summer to concentrate on improving his game in Charlotte. He got some sarcastic comments from French basketball fans, suggesting this injury was karma for passing on the national team.
Batum said he played 14 summers for his country, once delaying shoulder surgery to participate in 2009.
“I know (some) people in France are happy about it; that’s the sad part,” Batum said. “Really: I got stuff on Twitter that I deserve it.
“I (also) got a lot of support from France and here.”
Batum recalled a decision years ago to place national-team participation ahead of his NBA team at the time, the Portland Trail Blazers.
“One year, in ’09, I hurt my shoulder during training camp for the national team. I came back to Portland for a weekend and they said I had to have surgery. I said, ‘No! I’ve got to play Eurobasket.’
“I played Eurobasket, came back to Portland, hurt it again, and missed four months.”
In other Hornets injury news, backup point guard Michael Carter-Williams was cleared for contact for 5-on-5 half-court drills at practice Friday. It’s the first time Carter-Williams had contact scrimmage since the playoffs with the Chicago Bulls last April.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell