Big Al Out Four Weeks With Strained Groin
After laboring through several games, Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Hornets training staff have decided it’s time for the big man to take some time off the court and get himself back to full health.
The Hornets announced on Tuesday that Big Al will be sidelined approximately four weeks with a strained adductor muscle in his groin, but according to coach Steve Clifford, Al won’t return until the injury is no longer limiting his ability to play the post the way his team needs to.
“It’s going to be about when he feels better,” Clifford said of Al’s timeframe for return.
The Postman had been fighting a groin injury for several games, but only missed his first game of the season on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.
Despite the ailment hindering him in recent weeks, the All-NBA center has averaged 18 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 blocks per game thus far this season.
The adductor muscles help to stabilize and generate power in the legs and lower body during running and lateral movements, making them crucial to Big Al’s post game.
No. 25 was hampered by that injury in Monday night’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The pain sent him to the bench after playing just 1:44 of the fourth quarter, and he missed all of overtime, as the Hornets fell 104-94.
“He’s hurting,” Clifford said after Monday’s game. “(Jefferson) is far from 100 percent, but he does not want to come out because if we have a chance to get in this thing (playoff wise), then we have to win these games this month.”
Then Wednesday night, without the big fella down low, the Hornets didn’t have the firepower to hang with Houston and fell 102-83.
The night before, even with No. 25 limited, Charlotte was much more competitive, though they had to overcome a large deficit to force overtime.
After yet another slow start, the Buzz found themselves down 21 to the Bucks. Overcoming large deficits has been a calling card for the Hornets this season, and they’d done so to win two games in succession prior to meeting Milwaukee, but they came up short in the final meeting of the season between the two teams.
Kemba Walker led the way with 28, but the Hornets were outscored in the overtime period 21-11, as Milwaukee gave Charlotte its 11th home loss a 104-94 defeat at Time Warner Cable Arena.
“We were missing shots, got our heads down and got a little frustrated out there,” Walker said. “We need to be more consistent in our play. One game we play well, the next we don’t. That can’t happen. We can’t get away from the things we do well.”
Charlotte fought back from a 21-point deficit in the first half, but only shot 36.7 percent from the field. Most of that shooting clip was the result of Charlotte’s second half—they made 11 of 42 attempts from the field, compared to the Bucks’ 19-of-41 shooting.
Over the course of the first and second quarters, the Hornets missed 15 shots in a row.
“They had everybody in the paint and said, ‘Shoot the ball,'” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Our quality of shots were pretty good. …I felt like missing shots affected the way we played defensively.”
Walker gave Charlotte the lead with less than a minute left after a successful drive to the rim, but Brandon Knight, who finished with 18 points for Milwaukee, countered with a layup of his own with just 15 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime.
Though the Big Fella has been battling a nagging groin injury since facing the Denver Nuggets back on Dec. 22, Al did manage to log 28 minutes against Milwaukee on Monday and scored six points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five helpers.
The game’s box score was not indicative of Al’s third quarter production. Charlotte began the second half trailing by 15, but No. 25 led them on the comeback trail. In the first nine minutes of the third quarter, Big Al scored all six of his points, including a nine-foot jumper that brought the Bucks lead to just 10 midway through the frame. He also dished out three assists to help the Hornets draw closer.
But after playing just 1:44 of the fourth quarter,he was pulled out of the game with seven minutes remaining in regulation after re-aggravating his injury and wasn’t available as his team fell in extra time.
The following night, the Hornets made the announcement that the big fella will miss an extended period of time as he nurses his groin back to health.
- Al Jefferson (groin) out four weeks (AP, Dec. 31, 2014)
- Hornets decision to sit down Al Jefferson made at halftime Monday (Charlotte Observer, Dec. 31, 2014)
- Knight helps lead Bucks over Hornets (AP, Dec. 29, 2014)
- Hornets comeback falls short (Charlotte Observer, Dec. 29, 2014)
- Jefferson out at least four weeks (Hornets.com, Dec. 30, 2014)