Charlotte Hornets center and leading scorer Al Jefferson will be out for the foreseable future after aggravating a groin strain in the fourth quarter of Monday’s overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jefferson was going to have a magnetic resonance imaging Tuesday to reveal the extent of the damage. But coach Steve Clifford said Tuesday that he does not anticipate Jefferson just missing one or two games with this injury. How long he’ll miss is unclear.
In Jefferson’s absence, the team plans to start Bismack Biyombo at center and will immediately bring back rookie power forward Noah Vonleh from the NBA Development League to shore up whatever depth they have among big men.
Jefferson is the centerpiece of the Hornets’ offense, averaging more than 19 points per game. In his absence, perimeter players such as point guard Kemba Walker and shooting guard Gerald Henderson will have to carry a dramatically heavier load.
Shooting guard Lance Stephenson participated in a few drills in practice Tuesday but is still not cleared to do any change-of-direction motions and appears to be far away from being ready to play. Stephenson has missed the past seven games with a pelvic sprain.
The Hornets play Wednesday in Houston and return home Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.