OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -New Orleans forward Desmond Mason could miss the rest of the season after breaking his nose and cheek bone.
Mason, the only Hornets player to start every game this season, took an elbow to the face from Seattle's Chris Wilcox during the Hornets' 102-93 victory Wednesday night. A CT scan taken at a hospital revealed the breaks.
``These injuries to his face will force him out of action for at least the next few games and possibly the remainder of the season,'' Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said Thursday.
The Hornets said Mason's cheek would not require surgery, and a decision on whether he'd need an operation on his nose would be made in the next two days. New Orleans is 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Both teams were idle Thursday.
The Hornets have seven games left in the regular season.
The team's top small forward, Mason has averaged 13.7 points and 4.6 rebounds this season. He also missed the final 11 games of last season with a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
New Orleans listed two other starters as doubtful for Friday night's game against the Phoenix Suns in Oklahoma City. Center Tyson Chandler reaggravated a bruise to his left big toe against Seattle, and Chris Paul had a flare-up in an injury to his left foot. He has been playing through a stress reaction in the foot, which may need surgery this offseason.
Chandler was wearing a walking boot as he left the locker room following Wednesday night's game.
``When guys get the opportunity, they have got to be ready to step in and perform,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said after the game.
Reserves Hilton Armstrong (sprained left wrist) and Cedric Simmons (sprained right ankle), the team's two first-round draft picks this season, were considered questionable for Friday.
The team did not practice Thursday.

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