OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Tyson Chandler and then David West limped
into the New Orleans locker room with ankle injuries. Despite the
two scares in quick succession, the Hornets escaped without major
damage to their starting lineup.
Chandler sprained his left ankle and West his right as the
Hornets lost two of their five starters in a span of about 5
minutes in the third quarter of a 100-85 loss to the Orlando Magic
on Friday night.
Hornets coach Byron Scott called both of the sprains "mild"
and he expects both players back for New Orleans' next preseason
game on Tuesday at Miami.
"This is nothing. I'll be OK," said West, the Hornets' leading
scorer and rebounder last season. "I'm probably going to take it
easy (Saturday) and get back out there on Sunday and be ready to go
when we head down to Miami."
Chandler was the first to go, hobbling off the court only 46
seconds into the second half. West followed with 6:07 to play in
the third quarter.
"My foot is a little sore and there's a little swelling, but
it's fine," said Chandler, who came to the Hornets in an offseason
trade with Chicago.
After West limped off, Desmond Mason made four free throws to
give the Hornets a 62-60 lead. Howard then scored seven points
during a 21-4 run to put the Magic ahead to stay.
Mason scored 16 points for New Orleans and first-round draft
pick Hilton Armstrong added 10.
The Magic fell behind 30-21 late in the first quarter but scored
the final seven points of the first half to lead 47-46.
"We came out and started the game very slow again," Magic
coach Brian Hill said. "Some of that could be because we don't
have everyone in there, but right now our slow starts are something
that is a concern to me. Hopefully we can fix that when we have
The Hornets entered with only free agent signee Peja Stojakovic
(left quadriceps strain) out. They soon added to those ranks.
"I don't know who it was. I shot the ball and when I came down,
the guy kept coming up under me," West said.
Last season, West sprained his left ankle in a preseason game
and was hampered by it all season. The injury caused him to miss
six games but he also played with pain in others as the Hornets
remained in contention for the playoffs. He still finished second
in voting for the NBA's most improved player after averaging 17.1
points and 7.4 rebounds.
West said the Hornets were "just being cautious" and he
considered the sprain far less severe than the one last preseason.
"It feels all right now. They've got it wrapped up," West
said. "I'll be OK."
Scott said he'd be careful with the players if they didn't heal
before Tuesday, but both were confident they'd be able to return.
"I don't want to miss any time because I need to get as much
time as possible with my teammates to get acclimated," Chandler
Scott said he didn't feel any pressure to play Chandler and
Stojakovic, even though they both only joined the team this season.
"We want them to be healthy (for the season opener) Nov. 1.
That's the bottom line," Scott said. "You're talking about three
guys that are veterans, so they understand our system already. Two
of them are new guys, Tyson and Peja, but they understand the way
we play. I'm not worried about them."