The Atlanta Hawks' task in Charlotte could get just a bit tougher. Head Coach Steve Clifford is expected to return to the bench and Al Jefferson could be back in uniform for the first time since the season opener.
Clifford was back at practice on Sunday just two days after having two stents inserted into his heart. He is expected to return to the bench on Monday against the Hawks. Patrick Ewing coached the team in Friday's loss to the New York Knicks. One of the first decisions he will have to make is whether or not to insert Jefferson back into the lineup.
Jefferson practiced on Sunday and is expected to go through Monday's shootaround where his status will be reevaluated. Jefferson played 30 minutes in the opener and then missed the next five games with an ankle injury that he suffered during the preseason.
"Now it's all up to coach," Jefferson said on whether he'll play. "I think I proved I can go, but it's not about one game and relapsing. I think I'm in a better position that I was.''
Clifford indicated that Jefferson's status would depend on how he felt on Monday. He was hopeful that he would be able to go in some capacity against the Hawks. Bismack Biyombo has started the last five games in place of Jefferson at center.