<span class="vcard">Dan Feldman</span>

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 01:  Al Jefferson #25 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts on the bench during their game against the Atlanta Hawks at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 1, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Hornets’ Al Jefferson to miss about 24 games after arthroscopic knee surgery

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Al Jefferson missed six games due to a calf strain and five games due to suspension.

Now, just two games after his return, he’s sidelined again.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Al Jefferson will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to address a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee. Earlier today, Jefferson underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which revealed the injury.

The procedure will be completed by Hornets Team Physician Dr. Marcus Cook at Novant Orthopedic Hospital in Charlotte. Jefferson’s recovery time is expected to be approximately six weeks.

If Jefferson sits six weeks, he’d miss 24 games.

Charlotte has scored only a tick better and defended fairly worse with Jefferson on the court. But Jefferson stabilizes the rotation. The Hornets’ main lineup – which also includes Kemba Walker, P.J. Hairston, Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams – has performed much better with Jefferson than Zeller. Charlotte is 12-7 when Jefferson plays and and 5-6 when he doesn’t.

The Hornets will have to rely more on Zeller, Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes, who’s banged up himself. That’ll mean more floor spacing, but Jefferson’s low-post scoring is a loss.

Charlotte is 17-13, but in a surprisingly strong Eastern Conference, that’s just outside playoff position. At this point, merely not losing ground would be a worthwhile goal for these next six weeks. Then, Jefferson could help the Hornets make their final push.

Derrick Rose out against Pacers

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 25: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball down court against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second quarter of a NBA game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on December 25, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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Just when Derrick Rose said he was getting his legs under him…

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

This is why it’s so hard to believe Rose has turned a corner. He has played well lately, but it’s been a long time since he sustained it.

And for the same reason, it’s difficult to believe Chicago will break out of the deep pack of teams vying to be second-best in the Eastern Conference – a group that includes tonight’s opponent, the Pacers. The Bulls have a talented roster, but they need Rose to stay healthy enough to give everyone a chance to click together.

Report: Stephen Curry out against Mavericks

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after he made a three-point basket against the Sacramento Kings at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said “chances are pretty slimStephen Curry would play against the Mavericks tonight.

Walton’s doubt proved correct.

Losing the NBA’s best player will obviously hurt Golden State.

Here’s how the Warriors have changed from Curry on the court to Curry off the court (with where each mark would rank league-wide over the full season):

  • Offensive rating: 117.0 (1st) to 100.0 (27th)
  • Defensive rating: 94.3 (2nd) to 105.3 (26th)
  • Net rating: 22.7 (1st) to -5.3 (26th)

That might overstate Curry’s value, because he typically plays with Golden State’s other top players – leaving reserves to fend off opponents without him. Draymond Green (93%)Klay Thompson(88%), Andre Iguodala (64%) and Andrew Bogut90% have played a majority of their minutes with Curry. It’ll be interesting to see what they can do without Curry for a full game.

There was talk of resting a banged-up Curry the next two games. So, don’t be surprised if this is the first step and he also misses tomorrow’s game at the Rockets.

The 29-1 Warriors are chasing history. They have a real chance to top the 1995-96 Bulls, who went 72-10. A title is important to Golden State, and sitting Curry now should only help him in the playoffs. But the all-time-best regular-season record also carries weight.

The Warriors need Curry to get right. His knee could’ve contributed to a recent – relative – shooting slump.

But if they want to become known as the best team of all time, they need Curry on the court.

If you’re a Comcast subscriber in the Bay Area, you can stream tonight’s Warriors-Mavericks game here.

Report: Cleanthony Early has no structural damage in shot knee

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 03: Cleanthony Early #17 of the New York Knicks poses for a portrait during the 2014 NBA rookie photo shoot at MSG Training Center on August 3, 2014 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Knicks forward Cleanthony Early was shot during a robbery early this morning, which raised all kinds of questions about his life going forward.

With his reported release from the hospital, we can turn to his on-court prospects.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The hospital previously announced Early had been released, so there’s at least a little confusion here. Perhaps, he changed medical facilities.

But his exact location matters only so much.

The biggest news is the good news that Early has no structural damage nor need for surgery. Hopefully, he’ll be playing again soon.

Report: DeMarcus Cousins won’t be fined or suspended

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Vlade Divac was wrong.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

That makes Divac wrong twice by my count. The Kings general manager also said Cousins did nothing wrong. A team’s top player getting ejected from a close game for completely losing his cool over a clear foul is an error on his part. Cousins was wrong for losing his composure.

But two technical fouls and an ejection were a sufficient penalty. The NBA was right to end it there.

If you’re a Comcast subscriber in Northern California, you can stream tonight’s Kings-76ers game here.