NEW ORLEANS The New Orleans Hornets will be without starting point guard Greivis Vasquez tonight against Denver after he tweaked an ankle injury in practice Sunday, coach Monty Williams said after shoot around.
The Hornets guard is officially listed as doubtful, though Williams didn't mince words, saying, 'He's not going to play tonight.'
Vasquez has played in all 70 games this season, averaging a career-high 14.1 points and 9.3 assists per game, his assist total third-highest in the NBA.
'He always has something going on,' Williams said. 'He's a tough kid. For him not to play means he's really hurt. It's one of those situations where we have to do what's best for him.'
Teammate Ryan Anderson said missing Vasquez is big, saying he's the guy who runs the team. But he's not conceding the game.
'It obviously hurts having Greivis out, but I feel like we can win if we play hard, play smart, move the ball and make smart plays,' Anderson said. 'That's huge for this group. And we have to have high energy.'
Rookie Brian Roberts will start in Vasquez's place, a tough task considering Denver's athletic guards Ty Lawson and Andre Miller.
'Tonight is a big-time challenge for him,' Williams said. 'He started against Portland not too long ago but this is a different beast. They get up and down so much. Without having Greivis, we really don't have a backup point guard to try to spell him.
'He has got to be smart. He has to push himself tonight. I have to help him succeed.'
Williams said Terrell Harris, on his second 10-day contract, and rookie Darius Miller will likely get some time at point guard to relieve Roberts.