UPDATE: Hornets’ Al Jefferson out at least month with groin strain

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UPDATE 10:31 pm: The Hornets made the early reports on Al Jefferson official — and said it was worse than coach Steve Clifford was letting on earlier in the day.

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson has been diagnosed with a strain of an adductor muscle in his left groin. Jefferson, who underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) earlier today, is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks.

If the Hornets had plans of making a run to get into the playoff picture in the East, this makes that unlikely. The Hornets run their offense through Jefferson and this puts a big load on Kemba Walker and others.

5:15 pm. Al Jefferson has been the anchor in the middle for the Hornets. Even in this down year for them he is averaging 18 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, with a PER of 19.7 (the kind of numbers that gets you All-Star consideration). His game has taken a step back this season (there are a lot of issues in Charlotte right now), but he’s still the fulcrum of their offense and all they do.

Except they are going to have to do it without him for a while.

Jefferson has a groin strain that will sideline him for some time, reports Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer.

Jefferson left Monday’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter after aggravating a groin strain. Jefferson did not return to the overtime loss and could not practice Tuesday.

Jefferson is definitely out for Wednesday’s road game against the Houston Rockets. Coach Steve Clifford doesn’t anticipate a quick comeback from Jefferson.

“Í don’t know how long, but it’s going to be more than one or two games,” Clifford said following practice Tuesday. “They’re still trying to figure it out, but this is not one or two days.”

Groin strains can be tricky, players think the injury is healed when it has yet to fully do so and they aggravate it. The Hornets wisely are being cautious.
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With Jefferson out the Hornets will start Bismack Biyombo at the five, but really they will lean heavily on Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson to create shots for everyone.