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Gary Neal out with knee, ankle injuries

Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford is shutting down reserve shooting guard Gary Neal to allow Neal to recover from ankle and knee injuries.

Clifford estimated before Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets that Neal would miss 2-3 games.

Clifford didn’t play Neal in the second half of Saturday’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to rest Neal’s sore knee. Since then, Neal has also developed an ankle injury. Walking into the Bobcats’ locker room, Neal was limping noticeably.

“To me, until he can play (effectively), it’s not wise” to use him, Clifford said. “It will hurt us here the next two or three games, but getting him well is the best way to go.”

Neal is the Bobcats’ leading scorer among reserves, at 10.5 points per game. It seemed clear in his last appearance, against the Houston Rockets, that his injuries affected his play: Neal missed all eight of his shot attempts, most of those bouncing off the front rim.

“He’s not able physically to play,” Clifford said. “He can’t push off” his legs effectively.

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