Stojakovic will miss minimum of two weeks

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

The Hornets just announced that starting small forward Peja Stojakovic will miss a minimum of two weeks with a lower abdominal strain. Stojakovic suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Hornets’ game against the Warriors on Monday.

If Stojakovic is out for two weeks, he will be sidelined for the next nine games. New Orleans (32-32) has 18 games remaining on its regular season schedule.

Stojakovic’s absence will leave the Hornets with just nine available players tonight in Oklahoma City (7 p.m.). Darren Collison, Morris Peterson, Emeka Okafor and David West have been in the starting lineup of late, while Marcus Thornton, Darius Songaila, James Posey, Julian Wright and Aaron Gray have been coming off the bench.

Jeff Bower told reporters in Oklahoma City this morning that Wright will replace Stojakovic in the starting lineup.

Tune in to the Cox Sports TV and Hornets Radio Network pregame shows at 6:30 p.m. for further updates. postgame: Thunder 98, Hornets 83

New Orleans has played an inordinate number of close games this season, one reason why some began calling this club the “Heart Attack Hornets” several weeks ago. With that said, tonight’s defeat was a distinct one in that it didn’t have much resemblance to many of the club’s previous games throughout the 2009-10 regular season.

The Hornets (32-33) needed a late spurt to avoid dropping just their second game all season by more than 20 points, falling to the playoff-bound and up-and-coming Thunder (39-24). David West turned in a monster 33-point performance in the building where his NBA career first blossomed, but it wasn’t nearly enough, as the rest of the rotation struggled.

Another occurrence that we haven’t seen in quite some time: subpar performances by New Orleans’ outstanding rookies. Darren Collison had one of his poorest shootest games of the season, going 3-for-14 from the field. It was the first time since Feb. 3, also against Oklahoma City, that the UCLA product did not notch double-digit scoring. Marcus Thornton was 4-for-13 for 11 points, the fewest he’s scored in a game not impacted by injury since Jan. 22.

Other developments:

• Filling in for the recently sidelined Peja Stojakovic, Julian Wright had some encouraging moments, in his first start since the seventh game of the regular season. Wright provided some much-needed athleticism against a youthful and energetic Oklahoma City club, finishing with 10 points in 37 minutes.