Al Jefferson aims to play in Bobcats opener

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Bobcats center is eyeing an Oct. 30 return, according to report

Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson suffered a sprained ankle last week, but told the Charlotte Observer that it is "very realistic" he'll play in the season opener on Oct. 30.

Jefferson, 28, left the Utah Jazz to sign with the Bobcats this summer and is widely regarded as one of the most talented offensive big men in the league. It's an encouraging sign for the team that he thinks he will be healthy for the start of the regular season.

"The doctor made it clear it’s just a low ankle sprain. It’s very realistic (to play in the opener). If it were up to me, I’d be (out) another week, but I understand they want to take it really slow."

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It makes sense that the Bobcats would want to "take it really slow." The three-year contract he signed this offseason was worth $41 million. That's the type of investment that needs to be protected with due diligence and an intelligent rehab. Jefferson brings a presence down low that the Bobcats haven't had in years; he averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds last season with the Jazz.

The Bobcats open their season at Houston to take on Dwight Howard and the Rockets. Having a healthy Jefferson back will play a big part if the team wants to win its first tough road test of the year.

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