Charlotte Hornets

Bobcats to give Neal time off to heal

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 two-three games.

Clifford didn’t play Neal during the second half of Saturday’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to rest Neal’s sore knee. Since then, Neal also has 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 previous appearance, against the Houston Rockets, that his injuries affected his play: Neal missed all eight of his shot attempts, most of those bouncing off of the front of the rim.

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

Rick Bonnell