As optimistic as the mood has been among the Bobcats faithful since the summer, it all came tumbling down to earth when Al Jefferson sprained his right ankle contesting a Chris Bosh shot on Friday night in Kansas City.
Jefferson was having a solid night with 11 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes before the injury occurred — now Charlotte is holding their breath that Big Al will be available for the team when they open the regular season October 30th in Houston.
“I’m going to do my best to be back for opening night. I’m going to take it one day at a time and go through the process. I’ve sprained my ankle so many times, I just know how it goes,” stated Jefferson when he spoke with the Milwaukee media before the Bobcats played the Bucks Saturday night.
When the injury occurred, there were numerous reports that suggested that Jefferson had injured his right knee – the same one that he suffered a torn ACL to back in 2008. Thankfully, that ended up not being the case, but Jefferson was in serious pain and had to be carried to the locker room by his teammates. The x-ray in the arena Friday night was negative, but noting that Jefferson has sprained his ankle numerous times in the past + this time seemed to be quite serious means that it’s going to be very difficult to determine a timetable for his return – sprained ankles can take on a life of their own.
Tough to tell exactly how the Bobcats will approach this situation — the good news is that there are no fractures, so structurally Jefferson’s foot is okay. That being said, if he were to sprain it again early in the season, it could certainly sideline Jefferson for an extended period of time.
Steve Clifford did admit that the team would experiment with Cody Zeller at center more due to this injury.
There were many hopes that the Bobcats would be a much improved team offensive this season, but so far the preseason tells us that very well may not be the case. As a team, Charlotte has been 83-227 (36.5%) from the floor in 3 games. Not good. To rub salt in the wound — Kemba, Henderson and MKG are a combined 21-69 (30.4%) from the floor in 3 games.
The Bobcats have been nothing short of a dumpster fire, offensively, so far this preseason. Ah, but there in lies the hope — it is only preseason. I think that we all realize there’s no reason overreacting to preseason results, but these offensive numbers + the injury to Jefferson forces us all to remember the movie we’ve seen with this franchise far too often.
Tomorrow night Charlotte will play Cleveland in their 4th preseason game — the game will be play in Canton, OH.