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Hornets’ Al Jefferson to miss about 24 games after arthroscopic knee surgery

Atlanta Hawks v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 01: Al Jefferson #25 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts on the bench during their game against the Atlanta Hawks at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 1, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Al Jefferson missed six games due to a calf strain and five games due to suspension.

Now, just two games after his return, he’s sidelined again.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Al Jefferson will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to address a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee. Earlier today, Jefferson underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which revealed the injury.

The procedure will be completed by Hornets Team Physician Dr. Marcus Cook at Novant Orthopedic Hospital in Charlotte. Jefferson’s recovery time is expected to be approximately six weeks.

If Jefferson sits six weeks, he’d miss 24 games.

Charlotte has scored only a tick better and defended fairly worse with Jefferson on the court. But Jefferson stabilizes the rotation. The Hornets’ main lineup – which also includes Kemba Walker, P.J. Hairston, Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams – has performed much better with Jefferson than Zeller. Charlotte is 12-7 when Jefferson plays and and 5-6 when he doesn’t.

The Hornets will have to rely more on Zeller, Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes, who’s banged up himself. That’ll mean more floor spacing, but Jefferson’s low-post scoring is a loss.

Charlotte is 17-13, but in a surprisingly strong Eastern Conference, that’s just outside playoff position. At this point, merely not losing ground would be a worthwhile goal for these next six weeks. Then, Jefferson could help the Hornets make their final push.