Charlotte Hornets

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Injury Update: Hornets Forward Suffers Torn Labrum

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 06:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Charlotte Hornets pauses during the game against the Washington Wizards at the Time Warner Cable Arena on February 06, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2016

The Charlotte Hornets may once again be without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for a prolonged spell after announcing Thursday the veteran forward has a torn labrum in his right shoulder.  

It's the same injury that necessitated surgery back in October, and Kidd-Gilchrist will be re-evaluated following the All-Star break. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer provided his most likely recovery options:

Kidd-Gilchrist suffered the injury during Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers:

The 22-year-old small forward didn't make his 2015-16 debut until the Hornets' Jan. 29 matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. His presence was immediately felt as Charlotte won five of its last seven games.

It's admittedly a small sample size, but the Hornets boasted a 15.2-point net rating per 100 possessions with Kidd-Gilchrist on the court, compared to a 0.2 net rating when he was on the bench, per NBA.com.

Kidd-Gilchrist was also making nice strides as a shooter. In his seven games so far this year, he averaged 12.7 points on 54.1 percent shooting. He also extended his range a bit, making 0.4 three-pointers a game and shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say MKG's health will likely be the difference between the Hornets making and missing the playoffs. Charlotte is only a half-game ahead of the Detroit Pistons for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, and remaining in the top eight will be much more difficult with the versatile defender out of action.

The best course of action might be season-ending surgery, even if it results in the Hornets falling into the draft lottery. Kidd-Gilchrist would be taking a big risk by opting to rehab to keep alive hope of a return this season.

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