The MRI on Al Jefferson's calf came back, and the news was to be expected — the star center did indeed suffer a strained left calf in the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, which should keep Jefferson out for around two to three weeks. The 30-year-old has averaged 13.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game this season.
The two to three week time frame means that Jefferson will miss around six to 10 games, which include the likes of Golden State, Chicago, Miami and Memphis. The earliest he could return would be December 16 at Orlando based on the initial time frame, the latest December 21 against the Houston Rockets.
While the news isn't exactly good for the team, it is far from awful as well. The team arguably has more depth than any Charlotte team in recent history. By this point, we all know that Jefferson has a reputation as an injury-prone player. After all, only twice in his 12-year career has he played in all 82 games. The Hornets are more prepared for this than they have ever been before, and the argument could be made that the team has played better when Jefferson has been off the court.
The next few weeks will be a crucial stretch for the Hornets' bigs. Who will take Jefferson's place in the starting 5? Surely, this means more minutes for Tyler Hansbrough — how will he handle the minutes? Is Frank Kaminsky ready to step up and take a key role player position on the squad? Does this mean Spencer Hawes will be back in the rotation?
The Hornets had been off to one of their best starts in recent history. Can they keep up their hot start without one of their best players? The next few weeks will be quite telling for this team.