The Hornets learned Thursday that Melvin Ely has sustained a fractured left eye socket, which hopefully for Ely is not as painful as it sounds. The six-year NBA big man will not play in tonight's 7:30 p.m. game at Dallas and no timetable has been established for his return. The free-agent signee was injured when he was struck in the face by Denver forward Kenyon Martin during Wednesday's game. Martin apologized after the play and claimed that the contact was unintentional, but Byron Scott said he will review tape of the incident to determine whether the Hornets should seek action from the NBA to discipline Martin.
Elsewhere on the Hornets' injury front, Morris Peterson (strained back muscle) and Peja Stojakovic (strained groin muscle) are both listed as questionable for the Dallas game. Their spots in the starting lineup were filled Wednesday by Jannero Pargo and Rasual Butler. Pargo struggled mightily to find his shot, going 4-for-17 from the field, while Butler compiled his best game of 2007-08, netting 18 points and four three-pointers.
If Peterson and Stojakovic join Ely, Ryan Bowen (sprained knee) and Adam Haluska (sprained ankle) on the list of Hornets who do not dress for tonight's game, it will mean that Scott only has nine players available. If he keeps his starting lineup the same as Wednesday, reserves Bobby Jackson, Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright will need to make major contributions for a depleted bench.