Nicolas Batum Injury: Updates on Hornets Forward's Toe and Return

Mike NorrisFeatured Columnist

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 11: Nicolas Batum #5 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 11, 2015 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Charlotte Hornets guard-forward Nicolas Batum suffered a right toe injury against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 20 and had been out of action since. However, he is ready to return. 

Continue for updates.

Batum Active vs. Jazz

Wednesday, Jan. 27

The Hornets announced that Batum was in Wednesday's starting lineup against Utah.

Batum Thriving with Hornets  

Batum, who struggled some early in his career staying healthy, averaged 75.3 games played the past three years and had been a consistent starter this season prior to the injury.

This year has been a bit of a resurgence for Batum, who is averaging a career-best 15.6 points per game after scoring just 9.4 last year—his lowest output since the 2008-09 season.

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has been fairly consistent with his starting lineup, especially with point guard Kemba Walker and Batum on the wing.

The 27-year-old Batum is in his first year with the Hornets after spending the first seven years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers. Clifford said one of Batum's assets is the fact he plays smart, per Kenny Ducey of Sports Illustrated:

It’s just really simple. When he catches the ball, he makes simple, quick plays, and he’s usually right. So, if he’s open, he shoots it. If he’s defended, he passes and cuts. The other thing is that he already has an understanding of is the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates. He never leads them into trouble. And then he has the size, exceptional skill level, and passing ability to deliver passes from really anywhere. He’s a really talented player. He actually plays, to me, a lot like Tracy McGrady played. Great size, excellent vision, and the ability to deliver passes also off the dribble. Right now, he’s playing at a high, high level.

When Batum was out of the lineup, Troy Daniels saw a bump in playing time with Jeremy Lamb also nursing a toe injury.