New Orleans Hornets forward David West has torn his left ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Update (Friday): The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports: "Sources say David West has torn left ACL and is out for season." WVUE in New Orleans reports that the "Hornets confirm PF David West has a torn left ACL and is out for the season." Yahoo! Sports sets the initial recovery timeline at "six months of rehab." Clearly, this was the worst case scenario discussed below.
The Hornets released the following statement: "'Obviously we are very saddened by this news,' Hornets General Manager Dell Demps said. 'David is the ultimate warrior and competitor, but an even better person and we know that he will bounce back in time.'"
ESPN.com reports that the Hornets will sign Patrick Ewing Jr. from the D-League's Sioux Falls SkyForce to a 10-day contract to fill out their frontcourt.
For more on how the Hornets will cope in West's absence, check out Royce Young's breakdown here.
Original Post (Thursday): With the Utah Jazz leading the New Orleans Hornets 103-101 in the closing seconds of regulation, Hornets forward David West attacked the basket from the left. West reached the rim and, as he attempted a dunk, absorbed contact from Jazz forward Paul Millsap. West completed the dunk, to tie the score at 103, but was thrown off balance by the collision, forcing him to land awkwardly on his left foot.
West's left leg buckled and he immediately crumpled to the ground underneath the hoop, clutching his left leg. After being tended to by New Orleans' medical staff, West left the court in a wheelchair.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported: "Hornets say West has left knee trauma. X-rays negative. Will wait for MRI to make official announcement." The paper also noted that Jazz big man Al Jefferson "said he hopes he's wrong, but he thinks West's injury is major. Compared it to when he tore ACL with Minnesota." The Times-Picayune reported that a "large immobilizing splint and crutches [were] brought into the Hornets dressing room" after the game.
Here's video of the play.
West, New Orleans' leading scorer this season and an All-Star in 2008 and 2009, is averaging 18.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this season.
The Hornets went on to beat the Jazz in overtime, 121-117, improving to 41-31. The Hornets sit in the Western Conference's No. 7 seed, one game up on the Memphis Grizzlies, who are in 8th, and 3 games up on the Houston Rockets, who are in 9th. Without West, the Hornets wouldn't have a go-to interior scorer to complement Chris Paul and would be a severe disadvantage against all of their potential playoff opponents -- the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks -- because of it. With 11 games remaining in their season, it' s possible that West's injury could drop them out of the playoff picture.
To make matters worse, West has a player option for next season, worth $7.5 million, but indications were that he was planning to test the free agency waters this summer. It's possible, if not likely, that the severity of the injury will have millions of dollars worth of implications for both team and player.