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Nicolas Batum to return, start Wednesday against Cleveland Cavaliers

The Charlotte Hornets are swooning of late, having lost four in a row after a three-game win streak. Some reinforcements are on the way, though, as forward Nicolas Batum has been cleared to play and will be back in the lineup tomorrow night.

Batum has been out since early October, when he suffered a torn ligament in his left elbow. In his absence, veteran swingman Jeremy Lamb and rookie Malik Monk took on much of Batum’s role and minutes. Hornets coach Steve Clifford said after Tuesday’s practice that Batum will start vs. the Cavaliers tonight (8 ET, ESPN) and play limited minutes.

Batum’s defensive presence should help Charlotte, which already ranks 12th in Defensive Rating (102.8) and fourth in opponent fast break points allowed (7.8 ppg).

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