Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker has fully healed from his offseason left knee surgery, but he still hasn’t been cleared for contact. Either has forward Cody Zeller, who is dealing with a bone bruise, and both could miss some exhibitions game according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Walker underwent knee surgery in May to repair a torn meniscus. Despite his declaration of being 100 percent, Hornets coach Steve Clifford is going to ease him back onto the court. With the amount of cutting he does, Walker needs his knee to be completely healthy in order to be effective.
Entering his sixth season, Walker scored a career-high 20.9 points per game last season while shooting a career-best 42.7 percent. He also made 2.2 3-pointers per game, which was far better than his previous season high, 1.5 per contest. Furthermore, Walker averaged 5.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. It was the fifth straight year where he averaged at least 5.0 assists per night.
Over his five-year career, Walker has recorded 17.3 points and 5.3 assists per game with a 40.3 shooting percentage.
Zeller will compete with Roy Hibbert for playing time in the Hornets frontcourt, but Clifford recently said both will play a lot. Zeller started 60 games last season, averaging 8.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. In 2013-14, he made the All-NBA Rookie Team, as he scored 6.0 points and grabbed 4.3 rebounds per contest.
This will be Hibbert’s first season in Charlotte. Last season, he averaged 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while playing 23.2 minutes a night for the Los Angeles Lakers.