TUESDAY, 3:03pm: Kidd-Gilchrist will have surgery, the team announced. The Hornets didn’t confirm the timetable, but this news signals that he’ll indeed miss the season.
5:08pm: It’s more likely than not that Kidd-Gilchrist will undergo season-ending surgery, but a non-surgical alternative exists that would allow him to miss only six to eight weeks, a source tells Bonnell. However, going without surgery would leave Kidd-Gilchrist more vulnerable to tearing the labrum again, Bonnell adds. Kidd-Gilchrist will meet Tuesday with a team doctor to discuss his options, as the Hornets said in their press release.
4:26pm: An MRI reveals Kidd-Gilchrist has a torn labrum in that right shoulder, the Hornets announced via press release. The team didn’t provide a timetable. That’s a different injury to the shoulder than previous reports indicated.
2:09pm: The injury is a season-ender, Wojnarowski writes in a full story, which represents only a slight adjustment of the six-month timetable, as I pointed out below. Wojnarowski also refers to the injury as a shoulder separation, not a dislocation.
MONDAY, 1:44pm: Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will have surgery on his dislocated right shoulder and miss six months, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The news is a devastating blow for Charlotte’s playoff hopes just weeks after the team signed the former No. 2 overall pick to a four-year, $52MM extension. Kidd-Gilchrist appeared to suffer the injury when he took a hard fall to the floor in Saturday’s preseason game.
Most shoulder dislocations force players out for only between three and 12 weeks, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer pointed out, so the timetable that Wojnarowski reports is surprising. It’s unclear if Kidd-Gilchrist suffered additional injury.
The Hornets reportedly plan to sign nine-year veteran swingman Damien Wilkins, a move that appears directly tied to the Kidd-Gilchrist injury, though Wilkins, who’s 35 and has been out of the NBA for two years, is unlikely to give Charlotte the production it will miss from Kidd-Gilchrist, a top-flight defender.
A return in six months would bring Kidd-Gilchrist back in time only for the last week or two of the regular season. If the league determines that Kidd-Gilchrist is likely to miss the entire season, the Hornets could apply for a disabled player exception. However, it would only be worth 50% of his $6,331,404 salary this season, which would come to $3,165,702, and not the $5.464MM it would be worth if Kidd-Gilchrist was already playing under the terms of his extension, which doesn’t kick in until next season. The Hornets already have their full non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception worth $5.464MM that they’ve yet to touch, so it remains to be seen if the team will bother applying for the disabled player exception. The mid-level gives Charlotte more cap flexibility than every team in the league except the Trail Blazers, Sixers and Jazz.
The only other cap-related compensation that might become available for the Hornets this season is a hardship provision for an extra regular season roster spot, but that would only come into play if three other players are expected to miss an extended period of time, and that’s not the case for now.
Charlotte traded for Nicolas Batum in the offseason, though he was already likely to start along side Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets offloaded Gerald Henderson in that trade and Lance Stephenson in another, so Jeremy Lamb, who came to Charlotte via yet another trade, seems like a strong candidate to inherit a starting spot.
What additional move, if any, should the Hornets try to make to offset the loss of Kidd-Gilchrist? Leave a comment to tell us.