It appears that the New Orleans Hornets may be without their #10 pick from the 2012 NBA Draft for the remainder of the season.
Guard Austin Rivers will miss the next four to six weeks after suffering a fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
The Hornets season ends on April 17th, and with no potential postseason appearance (clearly), this may be the last time we see Rivers play all year. Should he miss just four weeks, he would then only be out of action for New Orleans’ next 12 games.
The injury occurred when Rivers made an attempt to go for a steal with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter, only to jam his hand on the body of teammate Grevis Vasquez.
Austin was having a terrific game up until that point, scoring 10 points on 5 for 6 shooting.
He’s averaging just 6.1 points on 36% shooting through 60 games played this season. He’s also averaging a lethargic 32% from three-point range and 54% from the free-throw line.
His numbers were showing some improvement as of late, as he was shooting 54% from the field over his last five games.
Rivers Player Efficiency Rating of 5.7 ranks him 334th out of a possible 335 NBA players.
What does his injury mean for the New Orleans Hornets?
The Hornets are 20 games under .500 with a record of 21-41, which is just half a game ahead of the Sacramento Kings for the worst record in the Western Conference.
There are no playoff ramifications that will come of this.
The injury does come at a bad time though, as not only was Rivers performing well in a big game against the Lakers, but he was really starting to turn his season around after such a horrendous start.
Rivers wasn’t a starter, so the rotation will change very little because of Austin being hurt. At the very least, guys like Roger Mason and Brian Roberts may see some more playing time here and there.