Cody Martin of the Hornets placed in health and safety protocols

Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin (11) drives the ball down the field during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina ( AP Photo / Matt Kelley)

Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin (11) drives the ball down the field during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina ( AP Photo / Matt Kelley)

PA

Less than 48 hours after the Charlotte Hornets thought they were back at full power, they were dragged into the COVID reality.

Cody Martin was placed in NBA health and safety protocols with little time to spare heading into Sunday night’s game against Phoenix at the Footprint Center. It’s a big blow for the Hornets. He’s their best defenseman and likely would have been used among the many people they would pitch against Suns star Devin Booker had he actually made his comeback after a seven-game stint on the inactive roster due to a tension in the left hamstrings.

Martin is enjoying a career year for the Hornets and leads the league in 3-point shooting. His 50.7% performance beyond the arc will be sorely missed and so are the 9.4 points, 4.4 assists and 2.7 assists that he mainly contributed outside. from the bench. He missed two games earlier this month with an illness unrelated to COVID, battling flu-like symptoms.

Unless Martin produces two negative PCR tests within 24 hours, he will suffer the same fate as the other five who returned during Charlotte’s six-game road trip. Each has been sidelined for at least a week.

Terry Rozier was the first to drop off the list of health and safety protocols and be entrenched in the rotation again, playing in the Defeat of the Hornets in Dallas last Monday. Mason Plumlee and Jalen McDaniels were shut out and joined the San Antonio squad for their victory over Spurs. LaMelo Ball and Ish Smith were in the mix for Friday loss in Portland, giving them reason to believe they had passed a flurry of absences.

Losing Martin now changes all that and it could potentially open things up for rookie James Bouknight to play meaningful minutes. He was on the ground for a tiny 2:23 once the result was secured against the Trail Blazers

As difficult as it can be for the Hornets to be without Martin, at least they’re still not in the same position as Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia and Brooklyn. The NBA has postponed its next games – three were abandoned on Sunday – with each due to the number of players and staff falling into the league’s health and safety protocols. Brooklyn also saw its clash with foe from the Hornets’ Southeast Division, Washington, postponed Tuesday.

In all likelihood, unless he’s cleared for the aforementioned negative tests, Martin won’t be available until after Christmas.

Roderick Boone joined The Observer in September 2021 to cover the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA. In his more than two decades of writing about the sports world, he’s chronicled everything from high school rodeo to a major league baseball game to the Super Bowl and the finals. The Long Island native has deep roots in North Carolina and enjoys watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” endlessly.
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