Al Jefferson & Pat Beverley Prepare To Play In Pain Because It’s The Playoffs

04.23.14 5 years ago
There were a couple of injuries in the opening weekend of the 2014 NBA Playoffs that could mean early exits for the team’s involved. Al Jefferson briefly left Game 1 between the Heat and Bobcats after a plantar fascia injury in the first quarter. Patrick Beverley appeared to strain the same right knee whose meniscus he tore late in the regular season, but stayed in Game 1 against the Blazers. Both injuries could spell doom for their respective teams even as both players plan to grit through the pain for the playoffs.

Jefferson said after the game he “heard a ‘pop.'” as relayed by the Charlotte Observer‘s long-time beat reporter, Rick Bonnell:

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After the game, Jefferson recalled the “Pop” felt, “Like somebody shot me. A terrible feeling. I knew something was wrong.”

But that’s not going to keep Jefferson from suiting up tonight in Game 2. Levity was the name of the game for a relaxed Jefferson on Monday following an MRI exam on the foot.

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Jefferson told Bonnell after Game 1, “I’m suiting up. It’ll take more than that to make me sit down.” Even if his coach, Steve Clifford isn’t so sure Jefferson can go:

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Clifford mentioned after the game how the Bobcats rely on Jefferson’s low-post offense more than any other team relies on a single player to facilitate things on that end of the court.

As Bonnell mentions, Jefferson’s toughness despite the injury won’t matter if he’s not effective. Fortunately, the doctors and training staff said Jefferson isn’t taking a special risk by playing. He won’t need surgery in the off-season, but tolerating the pain will be his largest hurdle moving forward.

He took two pain-killing injections in order to return in Game 1 on Sunday. Before the pop, he had scored eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 against Miami’s undersized front line. But he was just 5-for-13 the rest of the way and his normally perfect footwork faltered whenever he attempted to pivot on the left foot before a shot fake (something he does at an elite level) or an offensive move. He relied on shot from further out.

“I stopped short. I was afraid to continue,” Jefferson described. “It was more in my head than anything, that I was afraid to do things I normally do.”

For now, painkillers are Jefferson’s “new best friend,” and while the Bobcats odds of surviving their first-round series against the two-time defending champs were long to begin with, without Jefferson manning the middle, those odds reach proportions more in line with the Lottery Mega Millions.

While it’s Jefferson’s offense he’ll be trying to provide in Game 2 tonight in Miami, Houston’s Patrick Beverley is their defensive force on the perimeter and the best chance they have of advancing past a frisky Blazers team with an all-star opposite Beverley at the point guard position.

Click to read how Beverley is overcoming his strained knee…

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