The Charlotte Hornets are definitely a franchise on the rise, with their rotation exhibiting a very nice mix of youth and experience as they look to make a late charge for success.
The Hornets sealed their place in the playoffs on Saturday, thanks to the Detroit Pistons beating the Chicago Bulls, and will be hoping to make some moves in the post-season and surprise a team or two as they look likely to either face the Boston Celtics or Atlanta Hawks.
However, Charlotte may have just been handed an unprecendented blow on their quest to make it as far as possible in the playoffs, as Nicolas Batum looked like he suffered a potential knee injury last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers may have beaten Steve Clifford's team 112-103, but the biggest worry from the night for the Hornets head coach will be the health of one of their key men, in Batum.
Batum left the loss to Cleveland in the first half with a left knee strain and did not return, with the strain obviously being painful enough for the Frenchman to have to sit out the rest of the action.
Playing it Safe
The Hornets did not offer much detail after the contest, although head coach Clifford did say they will be cautious with Batum going forward.
''It's not the time of year to be messing with it,'' Clifford told the gathered media. ''I don't think it will be anything long term, but we need him healthy. The priority will be him getting back to 100 percent before he plays again.''
If Clifford is right about it not being anything long-term then that is a huge let off for the Hornets, who will desperately need the 27-year-old healthy for their playoff push. Batum's 3&D skills will be critical when games become all to play for.
The Hornets have been on fire since the All-Star break, rocketing up the standings behind the impeccable play of point guard Kemba Walker. The former University of Connecticut star has been on fire recently and will be a huge part of their plans for the future.
Charlotte have won seven of their last 10 games and will be hoping that they can continue that kind of form over into the postseason. We'll have to wait and see if Batum will be on the court once they get there.