Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered a dislocated right shoulder, which could cost him several weeks and the start of the regular season.
Kidd-Gilchrist spent the night in Orlando, Fla., Saturday after hitting the court hard late in the first half of a 106-100 preseason victory over the Magic. He was fouled on the play by Magic forward Tobias Harris.
Kidd-Gilchrist was transported to Florida Hospital South for X-rays, which were negative. The Hornets announced Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury is a dislocation. He is scheduled to fly back to Charlotte and be re-evaluated by doctors on Monday.
The Hornets didn’t estimate how long Kidd-Gilchrist might be out, but typically a dislocation takes three to 12 weeks of recovery time before a patient can return to normal activity. That figures to cost Kidd-Gilchrist the rest of the preseason and quite possibly regular-season games. The Hornets’ regular season starts Oct. 28 in Miami and the first three games are against Southeast Division rivals the Heat and Atlanta Hawks.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s defense is a key to the Hornets’ chances of returning to the playoffs this season. The team signed him to a four-year, $52 million contract extension over the off-season, which reinforces his importance going forward.
Kidd-Gilchrist, at 6-foot-7, is perhaps the Hornets’ most physical player. He has suffered various injuries his first three NBA seasons, notably a concussion his rookie season and a stress reaction (right foot) and a left ankle sprain last season.
His absence tends to have a distinct effect on the Hornets’ chances of winning. Last season the Hornets went 5-20 in games he didn’t play. They were 28-29 when he did.
Assuming Kidd-Gilchrist is out for a month or more, the Hornets will have some options to readjust. One possibility would be moving 6-8 Nicolas Batum from shooting guard to small forward, the position he generally played his first seven NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Should that happen, options to start at shooting guard could be Jeremy Lamb, P.J. Hairston or Troy Daniels. Daniels missed much of training camp last week with a hamstring strain.
The Hornets can also play Jeremy Lin at shooting guard, though he is primarily a point guard.
The Hornets continue their preseason schedule Sunday with a 6 p.m. exhibition in Miami against the Heat.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell