MIAMI - — Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson sounded optimistic at morning shootaround about his ability to perform tonight against the Miami Heat, three days removed from a Plantar Fascia injury.
I cant say there wont be any kind of pain. But I feel like every hour its getting better and better, Jefferson said, his left foot in a protective boot. Its responding really well. I should be good for tonight.
Jefferson strained his left Plantar Fascia the connective tissue between his heel bone and his toes in the first quarter of Sundays Game 1 of this playoff series. He made all four of his shots from the field before the injury, then was 5-of-13 the rest of the game.
Jefferson suffered pain so severe he needed two injections to stay in Sundays 99-88 loss. The question for tonight is not just Jeffersons availability, but his effectiveness, playing with this injury.
I dont think well really know until the game starts, said Bobcats coach Steve Clifford. If he can be effective, well play him. If not, well get him out.
The only other potentially significant injury for either team involves Heat point guard Mario Chalmers. He sat out practice Tuesday and was limited in shootaround Wednesday by a shin bruise. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said Chalmers availability will be a game-time decision.
The Bobcats have treated Jeffersons injury with electric stimulation and laser technology. But mostly this is about resting his foot inside that protective boot. Jefferson got the boot refitted after realizing the first one he got was too small.
Spoelstra anticipates the Bobcats running more pick-and-rolls tonight to take some burden off Jeffersons post-up game. But the Heat is preparing like Jefferson will be his normal self.
Were going to treat him like hes 100 percent, said Heat center-forward Chris Bosh. Hes one of the leagues best post players. You cant just let him get to the spots he wants. Hes got two moves that are almost unstoppable.
n Game I the Heat guarded Jefferson primarily with Udonis Haslem, for his ability to deny post players their optimum spots on the floor.
What separates UD is his intellect, his savvy. Its not just brute force, Spoelstra said.