Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson will not play in tonight’s Game 4 of the best-of-seven playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Jefferson, who suffered a plantar fascia injury in Game 1, likely would be available for a Game 5 in Miami Wednesday should the Bobcats somehow beat the Heat tonight.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said the one off day (there were two days off between the previous two games) just wasn’t enough time for Jefferson to recover. He could not participate at all in Monday-morning shootaround.
Asked about his level of pain, Jefferson said, “This has been like stepping on nails. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
Clifford said Bismack Biyombo would start in place of Jefferson tonight, but rookie Cody Zeller will likely pick up a majority of Jefferson’s minutes.
Clifford said if this were the regular season, Jefferson would likely sit out two to three weeks with this injury. Jefferson said Monday morning he did not anticipate needing off-season surgery.
Jefferson has clearly been the Bobcats’ Most Valuable Player this season, averaging 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. He was central to the Bobcats more than doubling their win total this season and reaching the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history.
“Regardless of what happens (tonight), this has been a wonderful season,” Jefferson said. “We need to continue to build and continue to get better.”