It was one of those moments that makes you sick to your stomach. Two teams battling for playoff position are going down to the wire on League Pass, and a split second after David West throws down a dunk in Paul Millsap‘s grill to tie the game with 22.5 seconds left, West comes down awkwardly on his left leg.
The replay showed that West’s left knee buckled on his landing. Combine that visual with the volume of his screams that were heard loud and clear on the Utah broadcast, and the quick assumption is that West blew out his knee. The Hornets said in a release that West is listed with left knee trauma and an MRI is pending.
Somehow, with the help of a miraculous buzzer-beater from Emeka Okafor, the Hornets managed to pull out a 121-117 victory in overtime, keeping them a game ahead of the Grizzlies for seventh place in the Western Conference. More important, they’re three games in the loss column ahead of both Houston and Phoenix.
We don’t know at this point how long West will be out, but unfortunately, it would be a surprise if we didn’t find out within the next 24 hours that he has a torn ACL or MCL.
No matter how long he’s out, Chris Paul and the rest of the Hornets have some work to do to hang onto a playoff spot, especially since they face Phoenix twice and Houston once in their final 10 games. And if they do make the playoffs, they’re certainly a less dangerous opponent for one of the top seeds without West.
Beyond this season and these playoffs, West is a free agent this summer. Everything depends on how quickly the league and the players come together on a new collective bargaining agreement, but an extended rehab will certainly affect his market value, as well as the value of other free agent power forwards.