The Charlotte Bobcats are attempting to climb out of the cellar of the NBA one piece at a time. They made a major leap in the right direction this summer when they agreed to a deal with veteran center Al Jefferson. Jefferson will give the Bobcats a much-needed offensive post presence going forward that will give the team a chance to win more than the 21 games that they did last season.
However, the Bobcats experienced a scary moment when their free-agent prize from this off-season went down with a lower-body injury in a preseason game against the Miami Heat. Jefferson went up to block Chris Bosh’s shot and came down in a heap. The injury was later diagnosed as a sprained right ankle.
The positive from the injury was that it wasn’t thought to be serious from the get-go. As the days have gone by, that has continued to be the case. According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Jefferson says it’s “very realistic” that he will be good to go for the Bobcat’s regular season opener on Oct. 30. Jefferson also added that he would be ready to play in a week if the team would allow it, but the organization wants to be cautious with the injury.
Jefferson being able to play when the regular season begins is vastly important to the Bobcats turning things around. The team is already without Brendan Haywood due to another injury and Jefferson not being available would severely deplete Charlotte’s frontcourt. Beyond that, Jefferson figures to be the Bobcats’ biggest offensive weapon this season, particularly paired up with point guard Kemba Walker after another summer of development. Sure, it’d be ideal for Jefferson to get more work in with Charlotte this preseason to adjust to a new system, but having him for the regular season in any capacity is infinitely better than not.