While there is a possibility the Charlotte Hornets get their high-flying forward back this weekend, it doesn't sound as if they will have their prized offseason acquisition available for next week's play-in tournament.
Following Wednesday's practice, coach James Borrego suggested Miles Bridges could return in time for at least one of the games in their back-to-back against New York and Washington on the road. But things don't appear to be all that promising for Gordon Hayward, who's missed the last 21 games, to suit up in the play-in tournament.
The Hornets announced May 4 that Gordon was out of his walking boot and was beginning weight bearing exercises. He still did not practice Wednesday and it seems unlikely the Hornets will have him when they tip their postseason off next week.
"Very up in the air," Borrego said. "We are just not there yet. I'm hopeful for Miles soon and I think that's best case scenario. Cody Martin is still a ways (away). He got that ankle pretty good, so that's going to take some time. And I would say we've just got to stay hopeful and believe that Miles will be next for us."
Bridges has sat out the last five games due to the league's health and safety protocols. His presence would immediately provide them with a mega-sized jolt as they try to hold on to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, which guarantees them a home game should they lose to the seventh-seeded team (it's looking like that's Boston).
But keeping close tabs on his minutes during his initial games back is also something Borrego will have to do so Bridges doesn't overexert himself.
"His drive is to going to say play me 40 minutes first night out," Borrego said. "I think that's going to be his mentality. You know him. He wants to play, he wants to compete. I think he's losing his mind over there not being a part of this. Let's knock on wood that we get him back and we have that conversation. Just going to be a conversation him, honesty with him and all of us collectively, our entire group, that he's healthy and he's safe, No. 1. That's the priority in all of this. Beyond that, we've got to make decisions on what makes sense for us from a roster, lineup standpoint. But we know he wants to play. All of us know that."