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Al Jefferson out against Bulls after hearing pop

Al Jefferson, Steve Stricker

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson, left, holds his leg as trainer Steve Stricker talks to him on the bench as the Hornets played the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Sacramento won 113-106. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

AP

In comes Kemba Walker, out goes Al Jefferson.

Jefferson – who already missed extended time this season with a groin strain – left in the third quarter of the Hornets’ loss to the Kings last night with a strained right calf.

Steve Clifford, via Steve Reed of the Associated Press:

“He heard something pop, so that’s obviously concerning,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

Considering Clifford’s description, it seems possible the Bulls game will only begin Jefferson’s absence.

The Hornets – whether due to injury or Lance Stephenson or whatever else – haven’t developed much positive momentum this season. But at 28-35, they’re still just a half game out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Obviously, losing Jefferson will hinder Charlotte’s bid to return to the postseason.

Once again, the Hornets will probably have to lean on Bismack Biyombo.