Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder Wednesday in a road victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The Hornets provided no timetable for his recovery, but it appears unlikely he’ll play again this season. Kidd-Gilchrist could have surgery or attempt to rehabilitate the injury without surgery. However, not having surgery would make him more prone to re-injury.
This is the second time in five months Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered that particular injury. He had surgery in October on the shoulder after injuring himself in a preseason exhibition in Orlando.
Kidd-Gilchrist suffered this most recent injury when he hit the floor under the Hornets’ basket and was fallen on by Pacers center Ian Mahinmi. Kidd-Gilchrist remained on the floor for several seconds, grimacing in pain.
While the projected recovery time for that previous injury was six months, Kidd-Gilchrist returned to the court late last month. The Hornets were 5-2 in the games Kidd-Gilchrist played, climbing back into playoff contention with a 27-26 record.
Had the season ended Wednesday, the Hornets would have qualified for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets have had a series of injuries to key players throughout this season. They hope to get back center Al Jefferson, recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, sometime after the All-Star break.
Kidd-Gilchrist is the Hornets’ top defender and has a level of energy infectious to the rest of the team.
With Kidd-Gilchrist gone, it seems likely coach Steve Clifford will again turn to P.J. Hairston as a starter. Starting Hairston avoided Nic Batum having to constantly guard the opposing team’s top perimeter scorer.
The Hornets are off for All-Star break. Their next game is Feb. 19 on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. They will regroup in Charlotte for practice Wednesday afternoon.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell