Since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned from a torn labrum that cost him the first half of the season, the Charlotte Hornets have won five of seven games (including five of their last six) to creep into playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
But during Charlotte’s win over Indiana on Wednesday, Kidd-Gilchrist re-tore his labrum, likely shelving him for the rest of the season.
INJURY UPDATE: @hornets F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had MRI revealing torn labrum in his R shoulder. Will be re-evaluated after All-Star break.
— Charlotte Hornets PR (@HornetsPR) February 11, 2016
The injury occurred during the third quarter of Wednesday’s game, when Pacers center Ian Mahimi fell on Kidd-Gilchrist under the basket while the forward chased a loose ball. Kidd-Gilchrist remained on the ground for a few moments before being helped off the court.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a separated shoulder on this play pic.twitter.com/fPLApyY6B1
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) February 11, 2016
Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury should mean more playing time for P.J. Hairston, who is shooting 35.9 percent from the floor this season, and Jeremy Lamb, who is having a nice season but lacks the defensive prowess or explosiveness Kidd-Gilchrest provides.
This is obviously a huge bummer for Kidd-Gilchrist, who came back from his last torn labrum ahead of schedule and was starting and playing pretty well on both sides of the ball. Limited to only seven games, the former Kentucky Wildcat was averaging 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and shooting 54.1 percent from the field.
It’s also a huge disappointment for the Hornets, who were finally just about healthy and looking like a strong candidate for one of the Eastern Conference’s final two playoff spots, with a core of Kemba Walker, Nic Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist all clicking at once.
Charlotte will soon get a boost to their frontcourt when Al Jefferson returns from his knee injury after the all-star break, but losing Kidd-Gilchrist remains a big blow, especially on the defensive end. Will this cost the Hornets, who currently hold the eighth and final spot in the Eastern standings, a shot at the playoffs?