Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist diagnosed with another torn labrum

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist grimaces on the floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Wednesday after injuring his right shoulder.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist grimaces on the floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Wednesday after injuring his right shoulder. Getty Images

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

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