Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @wwltvsports
NEW ORLEANS — Monty Williams stood in semi-circle of media Monday morning, once again forced to answer questions about injuries to his roster and their effect on depth heading into the Hornets’ game against Utah.
Center Emeka Okafor, the only player on the roster who has started every game, is questionable with a bum left knee.
He joins center Chris Kaman (left ankle sprain) as two who may – or may not – play against the Jazz.
Should they sit out, they’d join guard Eric Gordon (right knee contusion), forward Carl Landry (left knee-MCL) and forward Jason Smith (concussion) on the bench.
And that would leave New Orleans (4-23) with only eight players on the active roster.
“Just like I always say, you do your best with the guys you have and I believe they’ll play well tonight,” said Williams, New Orleans’ second-year coach. “They feel motivated and they see what’s going on. They want to go out there and do well.
“I’m proud of that, the guys that are pushing through and dealing with their own injuries and soreness and going out there and playing their hearts out.”
The Jazz (14-12) come in without any injuries that will keep players out. So, despite this being the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back, Williams expects Utah to be fresh.
“I don’t think it’s going to bother them much because they have two, sometimes three guys at three or four positions,” Williams said.
The key will be mixing and matching, Williams said.
“But the situation kind of dictates how you sub and strategize,” he said. “We may zone more than we normally would.”
Should Kaman and Okafor both miss, Williams said Gustavo Ayon will start and play at center with Al-Farouq Aminu getting time (and a start) at the four.