Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a dislocated right shoulder during the second half of Wednesday’s 117-95 road victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to an Indianapolis hospital where doctors would pop the shoulder back into the joint. This is the same shoulder that Kidd-Gilchrist injured in the preseason, requiring surgery to repair a torn labrum.
The Hornets said postgame that Kidd-Gilchrist will have an MRI in Charlotte Thursday to determine the seriousness of this injury.
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Kidd-Gilchrist had an excellent recovery from that previous shoulder injury, returning to the active roster about two months earlier than originally projected.
Kidd-Gilchrist was injured when Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi fell on his shoulder under the Hornets’ basket. Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t get up until after the Hornets fouled to stop play. He appeared to be in severe pain before being helped to the locker room.
It’s unclear how long Kidd-Gilchrist might miss while recovering from this injury, but a minimum of weeks is likely. The game in Indiana was the Hornets’ last before the All-Star break. They don’t play again until a trip to Milwaukee to play the Bucks Feb. 19. The Hornets’ next five games are all on the road, as the CIAA tournament takes over Time Warner Cable Arena.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s return created an infectious energy that was carrying the Hornets of late. They are 5-2 since his return to the active roster and have climbed above .500 at 27-26 to get back in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
Kidd-Gilchrist was averaging 13.5 points and seven rebounds and shooting 53 percent from the field when he got hurt Wednesday.
With Kidd-Gilchrist out, it seems likely coach Steve Clifford would go back to P.J. Hairston as a starter. Clifford used Hairston in that role to cut down on Nic Batum having to constantly guard the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer. Kidd-Gilchrist is the Hornets’ best defender.
The Hornets have been besieged by injuries this season but were working their way back to full health when Kidd-Gilchrist hit the floor Wednesday. The Hornets hope to get back center Al Jefferson shortly after the All-Star break. He needed knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell