Armstrong replaces injured Chandler

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Hornets got one of their injured front court players back Monday night, when coach Byron Scott placed center Hilton Armstrong in the starting lineup against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Armstrong was given the starting nod in place of Tyson Chandler, who sprained his left ankle in a game against Indiana on Jan. 19 and is expected to be out for another couple weeks. Armstrong also left the game against the Pacers. His left knee was bothering him and he sat out the Hornets' next two games. He had to have a precautionary MRI that did not reveal any structural damage.

Armstrong, a 2006 first-round draft choice who began the season as Chandler's primary backup, has averaged 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in a little under 15 minutes per game.

New Orleans also was without starting forward David West, missing his fourth straight game with back spasms. Scott said he expects West to miss all four of the Hornets' games this week, but hopes he'll return Feb. 2 for a home game against Portland.

In an unusual move, Scott decided to start 2007 first-round draft pick Julian Wright, who has averaged just over 9 minutes of playing time per game through the first half of this season. Scott said he thought Wright's speed would help the Hornets match up better defensively with Philadelphia.