Minnesota Timberwolves star center Al Jefferson is out indefinitely with a torn ACL in his right knee.
The team made the announcement Monday after a somber practice.
Coach Kevin McHale said Jefferson will likely have surgery to
repair the injury in the next week to 10 days.
Jefferson hurt his knee when he landed awkwardly late in
Sunday's 101-97 loss to New Orleans. He was examined Monday, when the anterior cruciate ligament tear was discovered.
Jefferson is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, at 23.1
points and 11 rebounds per game. He is one of only three players,
along with Orlando's Dwight Howard and San Antonio's Tim Duncan, to
average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds a game this season.
"Al's played at such a high level for this team and been such a
big part of our team," McHale said. "Everybody around here today
is a little bit down in the dumps."
It was devastating news for a young Timberwolves team that has
been playing better in 2009 after getting off to a 4-23 start to
the season. With Jefferson the focal point, the Wolves went 10-4 in
January, and the 24-year-old center was playing even better early
in this month.
He had 36 points and 22 rebounds in a loss at Houston on
Saturday night and followed that up with 25 points and 14 boards
before getting injured in the final 30 seconds against the Hornets
"I feel terrible for Al. Al's really, right now, devastated by
it," McHale said. "It all happens for a reason. It's hard for me
to figure out what this reason is. Somehow he's just going to have
to make the best of it and rehab and get better and move on from