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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shines in return from shoulder surgeries

"He does things that make you win." - Steve Clifford on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is already off to a hot start after injuries cost him much of the 2015-16 NBA season.

On Wednesday, Kidd-Gilchrist tallied 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting with 14 rebounds, one block and one steal across 35 minutes in the Charlotte Hornets’ 107-96 road win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

This comes after Kidd-Gilchrist rarely saw the floor last year after suffering a torn labrum during the NBA preseason. After having surgery in October, Gilchrist was given a six-month timetable for recovery on the surgery, and many believed the former No. 2 overall pick would miss the entire season.

But Kidd-Gilchrist battled back and returned in January, only to suffer another torn shoulder labrum, which ended his season. Even after missing most of last season, Kidd-Gilchrist knew he was to hit the ground running this season.

"I don’t want to talk about my injury anymore," Kidd-Gilchrist said Sunday, via the Charlotte Observer. "I’ve been back to my old self ever since I started playing again. I feed off my energy. That’s always how I’ve played."

And just as he did at UK, Kidd-Gilchrist is playing with the same level of energy that elevates and energizes his teammates.

"He has an energy level that is so contagious to the other guys," said coach Steve Clifford. "He can guard primary scorers. He’s, for his position, one of the best rebounders-per-minute in the league. He’s always gotten the ball to the basket. He’s a dependable competitor – you never have to worry about him being ready.

"He does things that make you win."

Now, Kidd-Gilchrist is back and already making a big impact for a playoff-caliber Hornets squad, which also includes former UK star Aaron Harrison, who was inactive for this game.