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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ahead in injury rehab; "I'm playing this year, for sure"

Kidd-Gilchrist is surely excited for the good news, and he let the Charlotte Observer know, "I'm going to play this season, for sure. It's only a matter of when now."

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kentucky Wildcat and current Charlotte Hornet Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has received excellent news about the recovery of a serious injury.

Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder during the beginning of the NBA preseason. After having surgery in October, Gilchrist was given a six-month timetable for recovery on the surgery; some speculation gave thought that the former No. 2 overall pick would miss the entire season.

Three months have passed, and Gilchrist has now been given the thumbs up to participate in all non-contact activities. Well ahead of schedule, Gilchrist could begin contact drills as early as a week from now if everything goes according to plan. At this pace, Gilchrist could potentially return to the hardwood for the crucial post All-Star Break stretch of the NBA season.

Kidd-Gilchrist is surely excited for the good news, and he let the Charlotte Observer know.

"For sure. No question I’m going to play this season," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I’m going to play. It’s a matter of when now."

Charlotte, sitting at a record of 17-17, could use their best overall defender back for any portion of the regular season. Right now sitting two games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, where you can go from second to tenth in a week, adding one of the league's elite defenders will strengthen the Hornets' chances of making the postseason for the second time in three years.

"I want to help my team win and I feel I can bring a lot of energy both on the offensive side and the defensive side. I just want to get back to what I love to do," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "It’s exciting. Another stepping stone to look forward to. Again, I’ve worked as hard as possible."

Kidd-Gilchrist signed a four-year, $52 million contract extension with the Hornets over the summer; making the big dollars thanks to his prestigious defense. When back in the lineup, head coach Steve Clifford can slip Kidd-Gilchrist right back into the three spot; right beside Nicolas Batum. Watch out for Charlotte to potential make a run when Gilchrist makes his return; He and Batum alongside Kemba Walker and potentially Al Jefferson, when he gets healthy as well, could ride well through the East.