Hayward's Solid Season Halted by Calf Strain, Adding to Hornets' Injury Woes

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Gordon Hayward misses game with left calf strain, exacerbating Hornets' injury woes

Gordon Hayward's promising season with the Charlotte Hornets took a sudden turn for the worse on Tuesday night when he exited the game against the Los Angeles Clippers with a strained left calf. The Hornets have a growing list of players on the injured list, and Hayward's latest injury raises concerns about their playoff prospects.

Hayward, 33, had eight points, two rebounds, five assists and a steal in 25 minutes before the injury. He was fouled by Amir Coffey with about four minutes left in the third quarter and was replaced shortly afterward.

According to the Hornets' PR account, Hayward's calf strain kept him out for the remainder of the game. This is a new issue as he missed a couple games last week due to illness.

The Hornets have been plagued by injuries this season. LaMelo Ball, a key contributor and rising star for the Hornets, has been sidelined since Nov. 26 with a sprained right ankle and is expected to miss an extended period of time. His recurring ankle problems have raised concerns about his long-term endurance.

Another promising young player, Mark Williams, has been out with a back injury since Dec. 8 and is questionable, and Brandon Miller, who sprained his right ankle on Dec. 23, is also on the injured list with no update yet.

Despite these setbacks, Hayward has been a bright spot for the Hornets, averaging 14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, Hayward's versatility and expiring contract have made him a potential trade candidate, drawing interest from several playoff-caliber teams.

However, Hayward's $31.5 million salary and 15 percent rider could deter some potential buyers. Scotto also suggested the Hornets could consider buying out Hayward's contract in February to save some money. Hayward's scoring, shooting, ball-handling and playmaking abilities make him a valuable asset for teams looking to bolster their championship ambitions.

Hayward's injury adds another layer of uncertainty to the Hornets' season. While the depth and remaining talent on the Hornets roster is promising, overcoming this wave of injuries is crucial to their playoff hopes. Hayward's return and the status of the other injured players will be closely monitored in the coming days and weeks.