Al Jefferson to be ready for season opener, Bobcats cut Patrick O'Bryant

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

After missing a significant portion of the preseason with a right ankle sprain, Al Jefferson's goal was to return for the season opener on October 30. Today he reasserted to Rick Bonnell that he'll be 'good to go' for the game pitting two of the biggest offseason frontcourt movers against each other in Dwight Howard and Jefferson.

Ankle sprains can be linger, as we saw last season with Byron Mullens and his persistent ankle problems that forced him to sit out a big chunk of his season.

Bismack Biyombo has played very well during Jefferson's absence, recording big rebounding numbers (13 per game) with about two blocks a night and holding his fouls at three or fewer in each contest. The return of Jefferson's scoring prowess will still be greatly appreciated to help the Bobcats' offense diversify its scoring opportunities.

With Jefferson on schedule to make his return, the Bobcats have also gone ahead and cut big man Patrick O'Bryant, a former top-10 draft pick in 2006.

The practice roster is now down to 15, which also happens to be the maximum roster size during the season. Each player is also on contract, though Jeff Adrien and James Southerland's contracts are unguaranteed.

Even though the Bobcats have space to retain everyone right now, they may choose to cut one of their unguaranteed players to give them leeway to look at D-League options during the season or to simply have roster space for a trade. Neither Southerland nor Adrien have played significant minutes in the preseason and both have advantages to staying on the roster. Southerland could give the Bobcats more depth at small forward and a shooting option that can hit the three while Adrien's defensive and rebounding skills are something the Bobcats could also use despite his offensive shortcomings.

The Bobcats play their penultimate preseason game (ever!) tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. EST.

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