MILWAUKEE (AP) So much for using the preseason to get Al Jefferson established as the Charlotte Bobcats' center.
Jefferson sprained his right ankle against the Miami Heat on Friday night and is now hoping to return in time for the Bobcats' regular-season opener.
"I'm going to do my best to be back for opening night," Jefferson said before the Bobcats played the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. "I'm going to take it one day at a time and go through the process. I've sprained my ankle so many times, I just know how it goes."
The Bobcats' key offseason acquisition was injured contesting Chris Bosh's shot in the third quarter of Charlotte's 86-75 loss to the Heat at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
He limped into the Bradley Center on Saturday using crutches and wearing a walking boot. He'll wear the boot for several days before the ankle is re-evaluated. X-rays taken at the Sprint Center were negative.
"Obviously, it's not ideal, but it's part of being on a team," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "It changes a little bit in terms of our master plan in terms of how we would implement offense, the order we would go. We'd been spending a lot of time obviously on the post-up aspect of it."
Jefferson had 11 points, seven rebounds and one steal in 23 minutes against the Heat.
The Bobcats start their season on the road Oct. 30 at Houston before returning to Charlotte Nov. 1 for the home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jefferson has appeared in 628 career games with the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz.