The Bobcats announced Thursday that Brendan Haywood will undergo surgery to address a stress fracture in his left foot next week. The procedure, which will place two screws into Haywood's navicular bone, is expected to sideline the veteran center for at least three months.
A three-month recovery timeline puts Haywood's expected return date in early-to-mid January. He could miss between 35-40 games even if he suffers no delays or complications.
Haywood, 33, averaged 3.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 19 minutes per game over 61 appearances for Charlotte last season. The Bobcats claimed him after he was released by the Mavericks using the amnesty clause in 2012, and he's on the 2013-14 books for $2.1 million.
The loss of Haywood further opens the door for 2011 lottery pick Bismack Biyombo and 2013 lottery pick Cody Zeller, who should see the bulk of the minutes flanking the roster's new centerpiece, Al Jefferson. Biyombo, a long shot-blocker who has struggled to piece together a functional offensive game, will likely get the bulk of the back-up minutes at center, while Zeller, a perimeter-oriented seven-footer who could make a run at the 2014 Rookie of the Year award, can expect to play as many minutes as he can handle under first-year coach Steve Clifford. Charlotte has missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and is widely regarded as one of the East's weakest teams. The Bobcats will open their regular season schedule against the Rockets on Oct. 30 in Houston.