December 31, 2015 / 6:14 PM / 2 years ago

Hornets playoffs blow as Jefferson ruled out for six weeks

Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Bass (2) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson (25) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Charlotte Hornets’ playoff prospects were dealt a heavy blow on Thursday when pivotal center Al Jefferson had surgery on his right knee, ruling him out until around mid-February.

The 30-year-old had a tear in his lateral meniscus and “his recovery and rehabilitation is expected to take approximately six weeks”, the team said in a statement.

Jefferson was only two games into a return from a prolonged absence when he suffered the setback. He had previously missed 11 games due to injury and a suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program.

A selection for the All-NBA Third Team in 2013-14, Jefferson is averaging 12.5 points and 6.1 rebounds for Charlotte (17-14) who are ninth in the Eastern Conference and just outside the playoff spots.

The Hornets have gone 12-7 with Jefferson in their lineup while they are 5-7 in his absence.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Tony Jimenez

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