With Jeff Taylor Gone for Season, Who Will Have to Step Up?

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A second season poised for a breakout has come to a saddening end for Charlotte Bobcats‘ guard/forward Jeff Taylor. He will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2013-14 season after tearing his Achilles in Friday’s win against the Detroit Pistons.

The gruesome looking injury left Taylor grounded on the floor after hurting himself just 30 seconds into the Cats game against Josh Smith and the Pistons. Though there was no contact on the play when the second-year player slipped on the open court, he still looked to be in an enormous amount of pain.

In what is another unforgiving injury to this surprisingly solid Bobcats team, little options remain as Taylor will be absent for the rest of a season that could see the NBA Playoffs for just the second time in the Bobcats’ existence. Taylor has started the last eight games for Charlotte, and it is very ironic that he was stepping in for the injured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Kidd-Gilchrist will be out until early January, but as it stands right now, the Cats have limited options at the small forward position until we have a confirmed date on when MKG will be back in the lineup. The former second pick will be re evaluated on Dec. 27 as he will lose his cast to help heal his broken wrist.

The only remaining options to sub in for Charlotte in wake of Taylor’s untimely injury are Anthony Tolliver and newly-acquired Chris Douglas-Roberts, who has only played in one game this season. The two will need to step up in the time that there is no MKG nor Taylor because this Cats team is a serious competitor in the East.

It would be logical to expect head coach Steve Clifford to put in the respected veteran Tolliver at the starting SF position until we see Kidd-Gilchrist back from injury. Tolliver is currently averaging 15 minutes a game to go along with 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Expect all of Tolliver’s numbers to go up in the next few weeks as he will be seeing a huge surplus of minutes. Douglas-Roberts may not see the starting position, but he most definitely will not be warming the bench anymore like he has in the past week. He will need to be ready often to sub in for Tolliver, as he will most likely be looked at as the “backup” for the given time.

Taylor was given high expectations going into this season and all of those were crushed and put to rest after his extremely upsetting injury.

The second-year forward from Vanderbilt was posting averages of eight points and 2.3 rebounds in just under 25 minutes per game. It’s certainly a big loss for a team that really could use his great talent down the road.

Daniel Carney covers the Charlotte Bobcats for rantsports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_jcarney, subscribe to him on YouTube where he talks sports, and add him on Google+.

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