An MRI exam Friday revealed that New Orleans Hornets forward David West suffered a torn ACL Thursday night when his left knee buckled late in regulation in an eventual 121-117 overtime victory over Utah.
West scored 29 points in the game before being taken off in a wheelchair holding his head and grimacing in pain after going down hard after a dunk that tied the game at 103 with 22.5 seconds left in regulation.
The Hornets immediately feared that West suffered a season-ending injury when it happened, but Friday’s MRI confirmed the severity of the injury, which means a months-long absence for West entering what was thought to be a lucrative free-agent summer for him.
“Obviously we are very saddened by this news,” Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. “David is the ultimate warrior and competitor, but an even better person and we know that he will bounce back in time.”
One source close to West said the Hornets’ power forward is hoping to complete his rehab in six months.
This all but ensures the following
- New Orleans loses in the first round of the playoffs – if they manage to hang onto their low playoff seed out in the West (Houston pursuing strongly).
- David West will not opt out this off-season and will play the final year of his under-priced contract. He will likely have to prove his fitness and ability on the court next season (32 next year) before getting in one last large contract in his career.