Al Jefferson still in walking boot
MIAMI -- Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson remained in a walking boot Monday to protect his injured left foot and will be reevaluated Wednesday to determine his status for Game 2 of a playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Jefferson is being treated for plantar fasciitis, an injury he sustained late in the first quarter of Sunday's 99-88 loss to Miami in the playoff opener. Jefferson received two numbing injections during the game and finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 35 minutes.
After the game, Jefferson told reporters he would continue to play through the injury, which is described as extensive inflammation of the thick tissue at the bottom of the foot.
But speaking during a conference call with reporters Monday from Charlotte, Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said the team won't know Jefferson's status until after the 6-foot-10, 290-pound veteran attempts to go through Wednesday's shootaround.
"It's tough because he's such a big part of what we do and he's had a great year," Clifford said of Jefferson, Charlotte's leading scorer and rebounder at 21.8 points and 10.8 boards a game. "We'll see how he feels Wednesday. But we'll have to adjust. We'll have to go to more pick-and-roll and five-man basketball."
Clifford also said Jefferson will be held out of Tuesday's practice in Charlotte before the team returns to Miami for Wednesday's game.
The Bobcats faced a daunting task against the Heat even before Jefferson's injury. Miami has now won 17 consecutive games in the matchup, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh having never lost to Charlotte since they became teammates in 2010.
But essentially playing on one good leg, Jefferson was still a handful for the Heat, who needed a 23-8 run midway through the second half to eventually pull away for the win.
This isn't the first time Jefferson has gotten hurt against Miami. He sprained his ankle during an October preseason game and missed the first few weeks of the season. Bobcats guard Kemba Walker said his team gained some confidence from playing Miami closely during the stretches of Sunday's game when Jefferson was receiving treatment.
Even if Jefferson continues to play, Walker said everyone else must be more aggressive to give the Bobcats a chance to compete in the series against the defending champions.
"I do think I'll have to step my game up," Walker said Monday. "We had a stretch we played without Al and we did a lot more. We're looking forward to giving [them] a run for their money the rest of the series."
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