Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets’ Steve Clifford: Al Jefferson won’t be 100% rest of season

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson (with ball) could have a sore right knee the rest of the season, according to coach Steve Clifford.
Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson (with ball) could have a sore right knee the rest of the season, according to coach Steve Clifford. TNS

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes center Al Jefferson’s right knee soreness will linger the rest of the season

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

Clifford pulled Jefferson in the second half of Monday’s road loss to the Chicago Bulls. Jefferson wanted to keep playing in what was then a close game, but Clifford was more worried about the long haul.

“The other night he was limping. He feels better today, but it is going to be game-to-game with him,” Clifford said. “He doesn’t want to sit, he wants to play through it, so we just have to read it.”

Jefferson had a groin strain earlier this season that knocked him out for several games. His playoff series last season against the Miami Heat was short-circuited by a plantar-fascia injury.

“I told him in the third quarter I don’t want to have another thing like last season where you missed three week, so I’m not putting you back in,” Clifford recalled. “He argued a little bit because we were right there. But when I see him limping around, I go back to last time. We can’t afford to lose him for three weeks.”

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell

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