Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has rejoined the team in Boston, after missing the first three of a four-game road trip for personal reasons, the Observer has learned.
Kidd-Gilchrist, whose grandmother passed away last month in New Jersey, flew into Boston’s Logan Airport Wednesday morning. The team, which lost to the New York Knicks Tuesday night, spent the night in Manhattan before flying to Boston Wednesday midday.
Kidd-Gilchrist has been away in two separate stints. He missed 12 days before, then returned to the team to play in five games. He left the team again, not flying on the charter to San Antonio for Friday’s loss to the Spurs.
Kidd-Gilchrist is a key element to the Hornets’ defense, guarding a wide range of positions. If he plays Friday against the Celtics, it’s possible he’ll be assigned to defend point guard Kyrie Irving. The Celtics have won nine in a row entering tonight’s home game with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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The Hornets were not scheduled to practice Wednesday, but it’s expected Kidd-Gilchrist will practice with the team Thursday.
The Hornets did not offer details as to why Kidd-Gilchrist left the team a second time. Tuesday night before the game against the Knicks, coach Steve Clifford called the situation day-to-day.
In Kidd-Gilchrist’s absence, the Hornets have started Jeremy Lamb at shooting guard and rookie Dwayne Bacon at small forward. Shooting guard Nic Batum is close to being cleared for contact practice, after suffering a torn ligament in his left elbow last month. It’s possible Batum could be cleared to play as early as the Nov. 15 nationally-televised game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell.