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NBA Charlotte Hornets

Tyrus Thomas’ Return Not Exactly Good News

Tyrus Thomas Tyler Hansbrough

Sam Sharpe – USA Today Sports Images

Through the first eight games of the season, the Charlotte Bobcats were 4-4 and appeared like they may be on their way to a season that was much improved from 2011-2012’s atrocity of a year where they finished 7-59.

In those first eight contests, Tyrus Thomas was playing 17.8 minutes per game. However, on Nov. 17 he injured his calf. He was sidelined for a month and a half by the injury and returned in the Bobcats’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

With Byron Mullens injured and Hakim Warrick being limited by aches and pains, it would seem that Thomas’ return to the lineup might be a welcomed thing.

But Thomas has struggled mightily in his first two games back. In limited minutes, 13, against the Cavs, he only managed four points and four rebounds while shooting 33.3 percent from the field.

That’s not really helping much of anything.

Even in their win on Sunday against the Detroit Pistons, Thomas was unable to perform at a high level. He started for Charlotte in the 108-101 overtime-win and played 38 minutes. However, he only grabbed five rebounds in that time. He scored a decent 13 points, but did so on 28.6 percent shooting from the field.

Thomas gives the Bobcats a body to throw into their lineups while their frontcourt is suffering from a slew of injuries. However, he’s not helping Charlotte in the time that he is on the court.

This is a team that has problems efficiently scoring the basketball. Someone who is going to shoot around 30 percent is going to do more harm than good for them. That’s what Thomas has been doing since his return.

Perhaps Thomas is just shaking off the rust from not playing while he was injured. After all, for his career he has shot 44 percent from the field. But looking at a smaller sample size, there’s not much reason to hope that his shooting-efficiency will improve.

Last year, Thomas shot a career-worst 36.7 percent from the field. That in itself might be an indicator that his offensive skills, particularly his ability to score, is slipping as he gets further into his career.

Though Thomas returning means that the Bobcats will have someone to trot out on the floor to take the place of Mullens and Warrick, his inefficiency on offense is going to hurt Charlotte way more than it’s going to help them.