Charlotte big man Al Jefferson needed two injections to numb the excruciating pain in his left foot just to get his team through a 99-88 Game 1 loss to the Heat. Jefferson made his first four shots and led the Bobcats to a surprisingly comfortable lead against the sluggish Heat before he planted his foot on a cut to the basket late in the first quarter, heard something pop and felt sharp pain shoot through his leg.
Jefferson took the first of two injections immediately after he was helped to the locker room once he left the game late in the first quarter. He came back to play nine minutes in the second quarter and received another shot to kill the pain at halftime.
By the time the game was over, Jefferson had stumbled his way through a contribution of 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 35 minutes. Then, the 6-foot-11, 290-pound franchise cornerstone limped his way out of American Airlines Arena in a walking boot that was a bit too small for his size-18 foot. ESPN
The Miami Heat have just gotten an incredibly lucky break. Al Jefferson has destroyed the Heat’s frontline this season, and Game 1 was no different before his injury. The Bobcats even managed to get a 10-point lead in the second half with Jefferson out of the game before a huge flurry from the Heat put the game out of reach.
A walking boot is never an optimistic sign for quick recovery, and the last thing the Bobcats want is long-term damage to the foot of their best player. It’s a huge conundrum that the organization will have to consider before allowing Jefferson back on the court. – AL