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  • Bobcats shooting guard Gerald Henderson will return to action Monday against Portland after missing the previous 13 games with a left-foot sprain. Henderson will come off the bench against the Trail Blazers, but according to coach Mike Dunlap there will be no constraints on his minutes. Henderson averaged 12.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the first two games of the season. “He’s been able to run with soreness and that was the key,” Dunlap said. “We need him to play in his role and just ease back in.”
  • Charlotte’s Jeffery Taylor will get the start again Monday. The rookie guard out of Vanderbilt has developed well in Henderson’s absence putting up season averages of 8.1 points and 2.3 rebounds while also becoming a defensive stopper and threat from behind the arc. He scored a career-high tying 16 points Friday against Philadelphia and has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games.
  • Damian Lillard, the sixth overall pick in the NBA Draft, leads all rookies in scoring (18.8 ppg), assists (6.2 apg), steals (1.35 spg) and minutes played (37.3 mpg). He also leads all first-year players having scored 20 or more points in 10 games this season. “His demeanor. His poise. He’s running a team at the most difficult position in this league,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “To do what he does well and keep this team involved he’s shown a maturity with that.”
  • Portland’s J.J. Hickson, a product of nearby N.C. State, is averaging 11.4 points and 10.3 rebounds. He is one of five players in the NBA averaging point-rebound double-doubles while shooting at least .500. In addition to Hickson, the list includes Tim Duncan, Kenneth Faried, Dwight Howard and Anderson Varejao. Charlotte has had trouble this season with strong low-post players and stopping both Hickson and LaMarcus Aldridge will be a priority.
  • Charlotte’s injury report is now limited to just Tyrus Thomas (left calf strain) while the Trail Blazers are without Elliot Williams (left achilles tendon) and Victor Claver (elbow).

– Derek Smith

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