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Hornets’ Gordon Hayward avoided the worst in Monday’s injury versus Jazz

Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward will be questionable to play versus the Phoenix Suns Wednesday with a right hand contusion.

Hayward’s questionable injury status suggests he avoided the worst in a scary fall to the floor in Monday’s road loss to the Utah Jazz.

Hayward fell hard to the floor with 10 minutes left. He was driving to the rim, guarded by Jazz forward Georges Niang, and stumbled, breaking his fall with his right hand.

Replays showed him writhing in pain, holding his right (shooting) wrist, before leaving for the training room. Hayward never returned to the game.

Late in the game, the Hornets called this an aggravation of a prior hand injury, indicating Hayward would have further examination Tuesday.

Hayward signed a four-year, $120 million contract to play for the Hornets, the top NBA free agent to switch teams this off-season. In his 11th NBA season, he is the Hornets’ leading scorer at 21.9 points per game.

Hayward has been injured several times over his past four seasons, topped by a dislocated ankle and broken leg that cost him all but a game of the 2017-18 season with the Boston Celtics.

Hayward had three injuries prior to this one this season: He played the season-opener with a broken finger suffered in the preseason. He also missed a game against the Toronto Raptors with a hip injury and one against the San Antonio Spurs with a sore lower back.

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Rick Bonnell has covered the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA for the Observer since the expansion franchise moved to the Queen City in 1988. A Syracuse grad and former president of the Pro Basketball Writers Association, Bonnell also writes occasionally on the NFL, college sports and the business of sports.
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