Charlotte Hornets

Hornets’ decision to shut down Al Jefferson made at halftime Monday

The decision to shut down Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson was essentially made at halftime of Monday’s overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

That according to Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who said he and head athletic trainer Steve Stricker agreed Jefferson’s groin injury was too debilitating to let him keep playing.

“At halftime we spoke and agreed that we were going to sit Al down and say, ‘We appreciate you want to play, but …’ ” Clifford said Wednesday before the Hornets’ game at Houston.

“It’s great that he wants to be out there and is team-first and wants to play. But he just can’t move.”

Clifford had said at Monday morning shoot-around he’d been told Jefferson wasn’t at risk of further injuring himself by playing.

The Hornets announced Tuesday night that Jefferson will miss at least four weeks after being diagnosed with a strained adductor muscle in his left groin. Clifford said Jefferson would still be trying to tough through the injury if the team gave him that option.

“It was cumulative,” Clifford said of the injury’s effect. “I think it if was up to him right now, he’d still try to play.”

Clifford said the four-week time frame is just a rough estimate.

“A month, they don’t really know that,” he said. “It’s going to be about when he feels better. He was having the same problems (Dec. 26) in Oklahoma City; he just can’t pivot off that (left) foot, which is such a big part of his game.”

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