Shootaround: vs. Bobcats
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com,@Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Friday’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena:
• Some welcome positive news on the injury front: Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers will both start for New Orleans. Davis missed the previous two games with a concussion, while Rivers sat during Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia with a sprained left index finger.
• Davis and Rivers are not expected to be limited in terms of their playing time, Williams said, with one exception: “Only if I see them not looking the way they should – then I’ll take them out. That’s not something we do. If we see a guy in a situation where they can hurt themselves because of an injury, then I’ll take them out.”
• Rivers: “It feels good. I’m ready for tonight and excited to be back.” The rookie shooting guard said he sustained the injury on the last play of Tuesday’s practice, when the finger got caught in a teammate’s hand. Asked whether he is surprised he’s had injury misfortune so early in his NBA career, Rivers said: “Some of it’s been bad luck. It’s part of being an athlete, I guess. That’s why you take care of your body and just move on.” Rivers will wear extra padding on the finger during Friday’s game vs. Charlotte.
• Friday’s game is the first regular season NBA meeting between Davis and Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the top two picks of the 2012 draft. The University of Kentucky players faced off twice in the preseason.
• Jason Smith has what Monty Williams described as “a thumb issue,” but Smith is expected to continue to play. Williams: “I’m going to watch him. If I don’t see him playing effectively, then I’m going to pull him… if I don’t hold him out. We’ll just see how he feels tonight.” Williams said he’s hopeful the injury will not affect Smith’s aggressive style of play. “Jason plays a different way. The last thing we want is him to get something else to happen, just because of the way he plays.”
• Williams on the Bobcats, who are without starting shooting guard Gerald Henderson (left foot sprain) and may be without center Brendan Haywood (family matter): “They trap and they’re going to try to run it down your throat. They’re a bit more physical than they were last year. Kemba Walker is more aggressive trying to score. He’s already had a big game this year (30 points vs. Indiana). They press and play a 3-2 zone, which is not something you see much in the NBA.”