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News » Armstrong starts vs. Nuggets

Armstrong starts vs. Nuggets

Armstrong starts vs. Nuggets
DENVER -- The Hornets' center position had a different look Thursday night when New Orleans faced the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

Starter Tyson Chandler stayed behind in Los Angeles after his wife, Kimberly, gave birth to the couple's son, Tyson, on Tuesday.

That left Hilton Armstrong to start Thursday night's game against the Nuggets' Nene and backup Chris Andersen, who was scheduled to return to the court after recovering from a rib injury.

Coach Byron Scott planned to go with Melvin Ely first off the bench, but there was a possibility Sean Marks, who has not played this season while nursing right calf and hamstring pulls, also could be pressed into duty.

"Hilton informed me he's 2-0 as a starter," Scott said, referring to games against the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers in which Chandler missed those games with a sprained right ankle. "And I said, 'Let's hope that continues.'

"I don't know. After Hilton, Mel is the backup to Hilton; it depends on what they do and how Hilton is playing," Scott said. "This might be one of those nights when all of those guys play. It just depends on the lineups that (Nuggets) Coach (George Karl) throws out there."

Karl said before the game Andersen likely would return.

"I think Chris helps us, because he gives up an athleticism and energy," Karl said. "It's important that we get him feeling good about his minutes and who he's going to play with."

Chandler thought he'd be available for Thursday night's game, because the birth was planned to coincide with the Hornets' trip to Los Angeles on Monday night.

"They wanted to do a few more tests, and he didn't want to leave until they were discharged, which I can understand," said Scott, who added there were no major health concerns for the newborn.

Chandler is attempting to fly to Portland for tonight's game against the Trail Blazers, although his availability is uncertain.

"I texted him today, and he texted me back that he was trying to get on the flight (Friday) morning," Scott said. "We'll just wait and see."

Ely, whose contributions this season have been somewhat erratic (he has four DNP-coaches decisions in the past five games) said jumping back into the mix on short notice can be difficult.

"It's an opportunity to get back in the rotation," Ely said. "I'm happy it finally came, but not happy (Chandler is missing). It's a long season, and you're supposed to make the best out of it. I planned on doing that."

BACK FROM L.A.: The Hornets spent two days in Los Angeles after Monday's 12-point win over the Clippers, practicing at Southern California, where the team is led by former Hornets and UNO coach Tim Floyd.

Floyd visited practice Wednesday, and forward David West, the only remaining member of the team who played for Floyd -- West was a rookie in 2003-04 -- visited with Floyd in his office.

"I just poked my head in his office to say hello," said West, who added that Floyd seemed surprised to see him.

ANOTHER START: Rasual Butler got his third consecutive start Thursday night in place of shooting guard Morris Peterson, who's still sidelined by right knee pain.

. . . . . . .

Jimmy Smith can be reached at or 504.826.3814.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 28, 2008


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