In desperate need of front-court help, the Bobcats activated F Jamal Sampson yesterday even though he isn't 100 percent healthy.

Sampson is close to being fully recovered from foot surgery he had in March, but the expansion team needs him now. C Primoz Brezec has a sore shoulder and F Emeka Okafor hurt his ankle, and both are worn out from playing three games last week.

"We need the size, we need 'bigs' -- three games in five days, Emeka and Primoz are worn out," Coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

Sampson could split playing time with Jahidi White. The two simply need to provide enough minutes to relieve Okafor and Brezec. Keith Bogans, acquired in a trade with Orlando before the season started, also was activated.

To make room for the two, the Bobcats sent G Bernard Robinson and F Tamar Slay to the injured list.

Meantime, the Bobcats hope G Brevin Knight will return to the lineup tonight against Utah. Jason Hart, who moved from shooting guard to point guard to replace him, is questionable with an ankle injury.

* SURGERY FOR MERCER: Nets G Ron Mercer had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Mercer averaged 9.3 points in three games as the starting shooting guard.

-- From News Services