Hoinets injury update: Cody Zeller talks about travelling with team while his broken hand heals up

By Richard Walker

Cody Zeller, shown during December’s training camp, is out of action for about a month with a broken hand. [Hornets.com photo]
Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller is in Philadelphia and delighted to be spending time with his teammates after having surgery to repair a broken hand he suffered in the Dec. 23 season-opener.

“I felt my (left) ring finger put to the side and it popped,” Zeller said of the injury he suffered with 8:47 left in the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-114 victory over the Hornets. “I knew when I walked off the court that it was broken and I knew I needed surgery. It was deflating.”

For Zeller, it was reminder of the 16 games he missed in the 2018-19 season after breaking a bone in his right hand.

“I’ve heard a lot about my injury history,” said Zeller, who has missed 143 games (entering tonight’s game at Philadelphia) in his eight-year career. “Hopefully, this is the last bad luck injury I’ll have.”

Zeller has career averages of 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 22.9 minutes in 420 games (253 starts) in his career. A 7-foot center, Zeller had career-highs of 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 58 games in the 2019-20 season.

After missing the Hornets’ 118-99 in at Dallas on Dec. 30, Zeller has been able to travel with the team during its current four-game road trip to Philadelphia (last Saturday and tonight), Atlanta (Wednesday) and New Orleans (Friday).

“I’m feeling good,” Zeller said. “I had surgery on Christmas Eve so I celebrated Christmas in the hospital.

“The reality is that it’s a broken bone. You just have to give it a chance to heal. I think the timetable is the four to six weeks that they’ve talked about.”

Zeller’s surgery was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Carlson also performed surgery on his injured right hand in January 2019.

“There’s nothing you can do to speed up the healing of a bone,” Zeller said. “I think it will be easier than last time because that was a right middle finger and it affected my shooting. This is my left ring finger.”