Charlotte Hornets center Roy Hibbert left Friday night’s game against the Miami Heat with right knee soreness and will not return. Hibbert would play only four minutes in the first half before being removed, missing his only shot of the night and grabbing just a single rebound.
In his first game with the Hornets on Wednesday, he played 32 minutes and had 15 points and nine rebounds, to go along with five blocks and three assists; he appeared to be the Hibbert of old, who anchored the defense for the Indiana Pacers just a few seasons ago. But if his first game was an indication of who he could be as player, so was the second, as inconsistency has robbed the 7-footer of this portion of his career.
Taken with the 17th overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Georgetown–where he was a Consensus second-team All-America selection his senior year–Hibbert was dealt to Indiana before he could ever suit up north of the border.
From 2008-2015, he was the anchor of the Pacers’ defense, being named an All-Star twice (2012, 2014), as well as a NBA All-defensive Second Team selection in 2014. For six straight years, he averaged in double figures, with a career year coming in 2011-12, when he posted 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest.
Then last season, he played in 81 games with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the wheels completely fell off. He played just 23.2 minutes per game and averaged just 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for a rebuilding Lakers team that did not have much of a choice but to play him on a daily basis.
But back in July, he joined the Hornets. How long he will remain the starting center is a matter of injury; both for him, and for Cody Zeller, who is battling injuries of his own before he reclaims his position as the team’s center.