By Ben Golliver
The Bobcats announced Monday that forward Tyrus Thomas will be sidelined for at least two months with a torn muscle in his left calf. The injury won't require surgery, but the extended recovery timeline will prevent Thomas from playing in Charlotte's next 32 games, assuming he misses exactly two months.
Thomas, 26, has posted averages of 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game off the bench this season. He is being shut down on the heels of an 0-for-6 shooting night in 14 minutes against the Grizzlies on Saturday.
Last week, the Bobcats traded reserve guard Matt Carroll to the Hornets in exchange for veteran forward Hakim Warrick. While not exactly a blockbuster move, that small-for-big trade that improved Charlotte's roster balance looks even better now. Warrick, 30, is well equipped to step into the 17.8 minutes per game that Thomas was giving coach Mike Dunlap as the team's fourth big man. The frontcourt rotation of Byron Mullens, Brendan Hayward and Bismack Biyombo should otherwise move along just fine, and Biyombo, in his second season, could find his playing time pick up as well.
A 4-4 start has made the Bobcats one of the league's most pleasant surprises. The loss of Thomas shouldn't really alter their trajectory one way or another. He's long been defined by the size of his contract rather than the scale of his on-court production, and Dunlap's clear preference for Mullens and Haywood makes Thomas as expendable and replaceable as an $8 million per year player can get.