That doesn’t mean they’re pleased at the prospect of being without him for considerably longer.
After learning their leading scorer from a season ago will undergo surgery next week, the Hornets shoot for their third straight win when whey host the unbeaten Boston Celtics at New Orleans Arena.
Mashburn, who missed the preseason and the Hornets’ first two regular season games with a bone bruise on his right knee, will have arthroscopic surgery Monday.
The operation and rehabilitation will take place in Miami, where Mashburn met with doctors this week. Loose particles will be removed from his right knee, and no timetable has been set for his return.
The All-Star swingman led the Hornets with 21.6 points per game last season, playing all 82 regular season games. He was one of only five NBA players to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in 2002-03.
New Orleans has performed well in his absence.
“I worked tremendously hard on my game (during the summer),” Magloire said. “I know we have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself.”
Boston appears to be adjusting well to life without All-Star forward Antoine Walker, who was traded to Dallas nine days before the season began.
Vin Baker had 24 points and eight rebounds as Boston improved to 2-0 with a 93-91 victory over Memphis on Friday. Mike James, playing just his second game with the Celtics, delivered the game-winning basket on a 16-footer with 1.6 seconds remaining.
“Coach called my number and I had to step up,” said James, who finished with 16 points—all in the second half—and six assists.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 31): Celtics - 1st place, Atlantic Division. Hornets - 1st place (tied), Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Celtics - Pierce, 23.0 ppg; Pierce and Battie, 7.0 rpg; James, 6.0 apg. Hornets - Wesley, 22.0 ppg; Brown, 11.0 rpg; Davis, 9.0 apg.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Celtics, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: March 12; Celtics, 93-65. At Boston, Walker scored 23 points and Pierce added 21 for Boston. New Orleans matched a franchise record-low point total.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Celtics - 1-0 on the road; Hornets - 1-0 at home.