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Gordon Hayward downgraded to doubtful Thursday vs. Raptors [UPDATE]

Hornets swingman was forced to leave Wednesday’s loss to Mavericks due to hip injury

Gordon Hayward of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket against Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter of their game at Spectrum Center on January 13, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

UPDATE: Jan. 14, 5:46 p.m. — Hayward is now being listed as doubtful to play Thursday vs. the Raptors. This is after he was listed as probable earlier in the day. Should Hayward sit, you’ve got to think this means rookie LaMelo Ball ($7,600) makes his first NBA start tonight. If that’s the case, consider Ball an elite GPP play given his upside. If the game is competitive enough, the Hornets should ride Ball against a Raptors squad that has struggled this season.

We could also see Caleb Martin ($3,300) end up in the starting lineup at SF in place of Hayward. He makes for a decent value option. Terry Rozier ($6,200) would be a tournament play with the increased usage with Hayward out. Rozier has a pretty high ceiling — similar to Ball — plus would likely be underowned with the news coming this late in the day.

UPDATE: Jan. 14, 11:31 a.m. — Hayward is being listed as probable for Thursday’s game vs. the Toronto Raptors. He left Wednesday’s loss in the second half due to a hip injury and was unable to return. It appears he’s on track to play and the only concern would be of a re-injury during the game on the second of a back-to-back.

Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward got off to a strong start in his team’s Wednesday matchup against the Dallas Mavericks but was forced to leave the game early after suffering an injury in the third quarter. Hornets PR announced that Hayward exited the contest with a hip strain and he will not return to the floor. Hayward tallied 16 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist in 27 minutes.

Hayward is a threat to join the 50-40-90 club this season and has been a focal point for the Hornets since joining them via sign-and-trade over the offseason. He leads Charlotte with a career-high 22.5 points per game and also entered Tuesday averaging a team-high 34.8 minutes per contest.

If Hayward misses an extended period of time guards like Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham could have to step things up on the offensive end. There could even be a chance for LaMelo Ball to move into the starting lineup.