Steve Clifford: Al Jefferson will remain hobbled rest of season

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Al Jefferson heard a pop when injuring his calf/knee area, though an MRI showed no structural damage.

The Hornets center missed just one game, and he has played fine since, averaging 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

But Charlotte has gone 1-5 in that span.

Can the Hornets get back on track? Don’t expect more from Jefferson.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

“Al is not going to be 100 percent here the rest of the year. He is just not,” Clifford said

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That’s pretty damaging news to the Hornets’ playoff chances.

They’re still just a half game outside postseason position, but so are the Pacers and Nets. It’s hard to see Charlotte emerging from the pack without a healthy Jefferson.

Bismack Biyombo can help, but this team was built to go through Jefferson in the post. The Hornets are capable of providing different looks, though that’s difficult with Cody Zeller also banged up.

Charlotte is limping to the finish line, and though that might be enough in the East, it probably won’t be – and it significantly reduces the Hornets’ already-low odds of making noise in the playoffs should they qualify.

Al Jefferson MRI shows no structural damage, but he’ll still miss time

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Al Jefferson heard a pop, injuring the area between the top of his calf and bottom of his knee.

That sounded worrisome, he got good news – at least for the circumstances.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

The test came back as well as it could have under the circumstances: The MRI showed no structural damage after Jefferson hobbled out of Wednesday’s home loss to the Sacramento Kings.

While he will obviously miss some time before returning to the lineup, it doesn’t look like an extended period.

The Hornets will enter Friday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls without either of their starting big men – Jefferson and power forward Cody Zeller.

Zeller will miss a second straight game with a right shoulder sprain.

Clifford said the short-term plan will be to start Bismack Biyombo at center and Marvin Williams at power forward. Jason Maxiell will back up Biyombo at center.

The Hornets can get by without Jefferson. They can get by without Zeller. They might even get by without either.

But it’s hardly an ideal situation for a team a half game outside playoff position.

After playing the Bulls tonight, Charlotte goes on a five-game road trip – facing the Jazz, Clippers, Kings, Timberwolves and Bulls. This stretch will be crucial toward determining whether the Hornets return to the playoffs.

Suns signing Seth Curry with Brandon Knight injured


Whether coincidental or deliberate, the Suns have had plenty of brothers of NBA players in recent seasons:

  • Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris
  • Goran Dragic and Zoran Dragic
  • Miles Plumlee (brother of Mason Plumlee)
  • Luke Zeller (brother of Tyler Zeller and Cody Zeller)
  • Robin Lopez (brother of Brook Lopez)
  • Taylor Griffin (brother of Blake Griffin)
  • Jarron Collins (brother of Jason Collins)

Add one more to the list.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Brandon Knight sprained his ankle and will miss at least one game. In a predicament that seemed impossible when the season began, that leaves Phoenix needing another point guard.

Seth Curry, brother of Stephen Curry, has excelled in the D-League this season. He’s averaging 23.5 points on 48.0 percent shooting from the field and 48.2 percent from beyond the arc.

There are legitimate questions about his size and athleticism, but those same questions existed about Steph. Maybe the younger Curry can overcome them, too.

Report: Nets nearly traded Brook Lopez for Hornets’ Lance Stephenson and Cody Zeller


Last month, the Nets, Thunder and Hornets discussed a trade that would have sent Brook Lopez from Brooklyn.

Talks fizzled, but not before one version of the deal nearly came to fruition.

Nets Daily:

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

It’s not clear why the Stephenson/Cody Zeller-Lopez trade fell through. It seems to be a fairly reasonable deal.

Lopez is near All-Star-level when healthy, but he’s frequently hurt and highly paid. Stephenson’s salary also exceeds his production, but he and Zeller are younger.

Why do I bring this up now?

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Guard Lance Stephenson is still being shopped by the Hornets, a source said.

The Nets are still aggressively trying to move Brook Lopez before the trade deadline, a source told Yahoo Sports.

Lance Stephenson’s fit in Charlotte is still questionable, and Brooklyn could still be looking to shed salary in advance of a sale. These teams have also discussed a trade involving Joe Johnson.

There are clearly pieces on both sides that appeal to these teams. That doesn’t mean they’ll connect on a trade, but they could continue to circle toward something as the trade deadline nears.

George Hill drives across lane, turns and fires game-winner against Hornets (video)

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George Hill stumbled just a touch, but he kept his dribble alive, and that was enough to shake Cody Zeller. From there, Hill had a pretty good look at the game-winning jumper, giving the Pacers a 103-102 win over the Hornets.

The Indiana point is coming through big in the clutch lately.