Charlotte Hornets

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returns to Charlotte Hornets, but when can he can contribute?

The last time small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was with his team, the Charlotte Hornets still had three preseason exhibitions left before a game that counted.

Kidd-Gilchrist was back at practice Saturday at Spectrum Center, after a 12-day excused absence following the death of his grandmother in New Jersey. He rejoins a team that is 1-1, and next plays the Bucks in Milwaukee Monday.

Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t want to talk about the passing of his grandmother, Rev. Renee L. McCleary, 72, of Somerdale, N.J. He did talk following practice Saturday about what he was able to do to stay in shape, after leaving the team in Miami the morning of Oct. 9.

“The treadmill, and I was on the court for a few days. It was hard, but I’m fine,” Kidd-Gilchrist said, following a one-on-one workout with associate head coach Stephen Silas.

“Great,” Kidd-Gilchrist said of his well-being. “I’m excited to be back with my team.”

Neither Kidd-Gilchrist, nor Hornets coach Steve Clifford, yet has a feel for when Kidd-Gilchrist will be ready for normal minutes in an NBA game.

“We didn’t do a ton” of scrimmaging Saturday in practice, Clifford said. “He’s good, he’s a worker. I really don’t have any idea when (he can play a significant role again), but he’s going to have to practice some for him to be ready to be play.

“I think we’ll know better after (Sunday), when we’ll do more contact.”

The Hornets have a busy week, with five games in eight nights starting Monday. After Sunday, the next opportunity for a strenuous practice is probably Thursday, before a home game against the Houston Rockets.

The Hornets have been shorthanded at the perimeter positions: Shooting guard Nic Batum is out several more weeks after suffering a torn ligament in his left elbow. Backup point guard Michael Carter-Williams has yet to be cleared to play, following summer treatment for soreness in both knees. In addition, the Hornets played Friday against the Atlanta Hawks without backup center Cody Zeller (bruised right knee).

In the absence of Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist, Clifford has started Jeremy Lamb and second-round rookie Dwayne Bacon.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell