The Timberwolves announced today that Big Al is done for the 2008-2009 NBA season.
No. 25 injured himself on Feb. 8th during a game against the New Orleans Hornets. He came down awkwardly on his knee, and the next day, imaging revealed a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.
It was a crushing blow to a team already battling through a losing season.
"Of course we're all a little upset and a little down," forward Ryan Gomes said. "Our guy, our captain, our superstar, is going to be missing for the remainder of our season. Of course our spirits are down."
Minnesota coach Kevin McHale agreed.
"We'll miss Al in every aspect, from his personality to his play to his presence to everything else," McHale said. "He's such a good kid. Your heart goes out to the kid."
Prior to Al's injury, MInnesota had been enjoying something of a turnaround in the last few months. As the Associated Press explained:
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 on Sunday.
"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 here."
Jefferson has torn ACL in right knee (AP, Mar. 9, 2009)