Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could miss the start of the regular season after suffering from a dislocated shoulder during the Charlotte Hornets' recent preseason opener against the Orlando Magic.
The team announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has sustained a dislocated right shoulder on Saturday night. He was seen curling off the screen late in the game's second quarter when he fell to ground after being hit by a foul move courtesy of a Magic player. He stayed on the floor for several seconds, got up holding his shoulder, and was promptly assisted to the locker room.
According to the Hornets, Kidd-Gilchrist underwent an MRI exam which revealed a torn labrum, a cartilage that connects the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. On Tuesday, the team said that "MKG will meet with team orthopedist Dr. Marcus Cook tomorrow to determine next steps for recovery & rehabilitation."
At 22 years old, the Hornets forward has been all too familiar with injuries. In his last two seasons, he sustained a concussion, dealt with a foot injury, and missed a total of 47 games. Nevertheless, Kidd-Gilchrist performs efficiently when he is healthy. That is likely the reason why Charlotte signed him to a four-year contract extension in August worth $52 million.
Coach Steve Clifford said that the loss of Kidd-Gilchrist is a major blow to a revamped Hornets roster tipped to have a good chance of returning to the playoffs. Kidd-Gilchrist is Charlotte's best perimeter defender as well as a developing offensive player.
Last season, Kidd-Gilchrist delivered a career-high average of 10.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists, all while being limited to only 55 games due to injuries.
With MKG's recent injury and subsequent absence, the team may have felt the need to strengthen its wing positions. It reportedly did so by acquiring former N.C. State player Damien Wilkins on Monday. Charlotte has not made the deal official yet mostly because the two sides have not gotten together to sign the contract but it should become final soon, according to Swarm and Sting.
Wilkins is a 35-year-old veteran forward with nine years of experience in the association. He is the son of former NBA player Gerald Wilkins and also a nephew of former NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins.
The 6-foot-6-inch player has suited up for various teams such as the Seattle Supersonics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and most recently the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2012-2013 season. He also played for Team USA back in July at the Pan American Games in Canada. The U.S. team placed third in that tournament.