MIAMI Charlotte Bobcats rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was released from a Houston hospital Sunday and was cleared to fly one day after suffering a concussion in Saturdays game against the Houston Rockets.
While this is encouraging news about Kidd-Gilchrists recovery, hed still have to pass a concussion test under NBA medical protocol before being allowed to play again. The Bobcats play the Miami Heat on Monday, then close out a five-game road trip Wednesday in Cleveland.
Im just relieved hes not in the hospital today thats the key point. Hes young and hell heal up nicely, Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said after Sunday practice.
Dunlap spoke with Kidd-Gilchrist by phone Sunday morning and said he sounded well. Still, this is the second time this season Kidd-Gilchrist has taken a blow to the head; he was kicked in the home loss to the New Orleans Hornets, causing a scratched cornea.
Kidd-Gilchrist was injured in a collision with teammate Jeff Taylor early in the fourth quarter Saturday. Kidd-Gilchrists head hit the floor violently, and he was wheeled off the court to an ambulance with his neck immobilized.
X-rays and a CT scan showed no injury beyond the concussion, which kept him in the hospital for observation Saturday. Assistant athletic trainer Dennis Williams stayed in Houston and flew with Kidd-Gilchrist to Miami on Sunday.
While Kidd-Gilchrist might miss playing time, the Bobcats are about to get back power forward Byron Mullens, who said hed play Monday for the first time since severely spraining his left ankle in late December.
Dunlap will work Mullens back in slowly, playing him 11 to 15 minutes against the Heat. Mullens practiced Friday in Houston and Sunday in Miami.
I wouldnt say Im 100 percent, but at a point where I can go; where I can take a couple of Advils and play on it, said Mullens. It felt really good today. The other day in practice it felt really good, but I over-pushed it and the next day it was really sore.
Mullens said hes running and cutting fine now, but its still hard to jump full-force off just his left foot. And missing a month means he has to get back in game shape.
Playing 3-on-3 (in practice) is the equivalent of making one trip down-and-back in a real game. Its totally different, Mullens said.
Im pretty sure my legs will get tired, so 12 to 15 minutes should be great, and then Cleveland and then the Lakers (at home Friday) thats what Im really getting ready for, that big game.