Hornets optimistic Thornton, Gray play vs. Warriors

Sunday, March 7, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

The Hornets (31-32) were already down to 10 available players at tip-off of Friday’s defeat in San Antonio, but by game’s end, that tally was eight. Aaron Gray left in the first quarter with was termed a lower gastro-intenstinal infection, while Marcus Thornton headed to the locker room in the fourth period with a bruised upper back, the result of tumbling to the floor over the Spurs’ Tony Parker.

Jeff Bower said after practice this morning that both players will be re-evaluated during shootaround Monday, but he hopes to have them available against the Warriors.

“They’re much better today,” Bower said. “Aaron is feeling much better. Marcus is doing pretty well. We’ll get a final idea after tomorrow’s shootaround (if they will play). We’re optimistic.”

The Hornets had a rare off day Saturday, but returned to practice at the Alario Center today. Gray fully participated today, while Thornton saw limited participation.

Gray picked up a stomach bug prior to Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis, but still played 20 minutes and had seven points and eight rebounds. He sat out Thursday’s practice. Sparing you the details, Gray said he barely made it through the national anthem prior to Friday’s game at San Antonio, then headed to the men’s room. The 7-footer played three minutes before exiting the game for good.

“It was very frustrating, especially since I was feeling good (mentally) coming off the Memphis game,” Gray said this morning. “I felt like there were a lot of minutes to be played in the San Antonio game. I tried to (play) and just couldn’t.”

Though the Hornets are dealing with a handful of injuries and ailments at the moment, don’t expect any sympathy from Golden State (17-45), which has been more shorthanded than any NBA club this season. The Warriors have played many of their recent games with only eight players available. Golden State TV play-by-play voice Bob Fitzgerald said this weekend that the Warriors have not even been holding practices lately, partly because they “don’t want to dare injure the few healthy players they have.”