Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rejoined the Hornets for practice today following a 12-day excused absence after his grandmother’s death, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The fifth-year small forward left the team midway through preseason and is working on conditioning so he can return to action. “He’s good, he’s a worker,” said coach Steve Clifford. “I really don’t have any idea when (he can play a significant role again), but he’s going to have to practice some for him to be ready to be play. I think we’ll know better after (Sunday), when we’ll do more contact.”
There’s more today out of Charlotte:
- Several former teammates of Hornets center Dwight Howard are disputing allegations that he was hard to get along with last season, writes Michael Cunningham of The Journal-Constitution. Amid reports that the Hawks wanted to get rid of Howard’s “negative influence” and that some players were happy to see him leave, at least two players are coming to his defense. Malcolm Delaney denied the accusation on Twitter, and Dennis Schroder says Howard is misunderstood. “Off the court he is a good guy,” Schroder said. “He did a great job trying to bring everybody together, as always. On the court we are too different. That’s on the court. But off the court, I think [he’s] amazing.”
- Wizards power forward Markieff Morris is making progress in his return from abdominal surgery, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Morris was part of the team’s weightlifting session today and played one-on-one games against teammates. He still isn’t expected to return to action until mid-November, but the team is encouraged by his progress. “He did everything. He did the entire 20 minutes of one-on-one live, which was great for him,” said coach Scott Brooks. “Playing against other NBA players is the next step of coming back … he’s tired of competing against the coaching staff and playing against us because you get false confidence playing against me and my staff. But it was good, he gave a good 20 minutes. The conditioning is pretty good, considering he’s coming back from the hernia surgery.”
- Magic guard Elfrid Payton was diagnosed with a “mild to moderate strain” of his left hamstring after an MRI, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. He was held out of today’s game and the team hasn’t provided an estimate of when he might return.