The NBA is currently in the midst of an unfortunate, bizarre period of high-profile broken hand injuries. As our Dan Devine noted on Monday, the New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers' J.J. Redick, and the Brooklyn Nets' Paul Pierce have all suffered broken hands that will keep them out for at least a few weeks each. All three teams will feel those players' absences, but it's also a shame for basketball fans everywhere.
On Tuesday night, another notable player joined that group. In the third quarter of the Charlotte Bobcats 89-82 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks, second-year wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, suffered a broken left hand. The official announcement:
— Charlotte Bobcats PR (@BobcatsPR) December 4, 2013
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer provided more details on Twitter:
Indication is MKG broke his hand driving to the rim in the third quarter. About six minutes into the second half. — Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 4, 2013
MKG left hand in cast, middle two fingers taped together. — Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 4, 2013
The fracture is along the ring finger of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's left hand. He looked down and it was pointed the wrong way. — Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 4, 2013
The Bobcats have been something of a surprise in the mostly deplorable East, starting the season 8-11 to sit in eighth place, or just good enough to nab the conference's final playoff spot. While that's no sign of greatness, it's meaningful progress for a franchise that finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history in 2011-12 and the second-worst record in the league in 2012-13. Kidd-Gilchrist has been a big part of the Bobcats' progression at the defensive end. When he sits, the team simply isn't as effective defensively:
With MKG on the floor, Bobcats have allowed 95 points per 100 possessions in 462 min. With him off, that's up to 101.2-per-100 in 402 min. — Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) December 4, 2013
Plus, while MKG's offense remains a serious work-in-progress, he has shown improvement, boosting his shooting percentage from 45.8 percent as a rookie to 50.8 percent in this season's first 17 games. The Bobcats will certainly hope that he does not miss significant time, although the severity of such an injury can vary.
Oddly, Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis became the first college teammates to be selected with the first two picks of the draft when they left the University Kentucky after one season. Of course, something tells me they don't find this coincidence particularly neat.
We'll have updates on Kidd-Gilchrist's condition and recovery estimate as they become available.
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