Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is set to return after missing nearly four months with a shoulder injury.
The Hornets said their top defender has been cleared to play and will be in uniform Friday night against the Trail Blazers in Portland.
"It will obviously take him a few games to get back into his rhythm, but it’s great to have him back," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said before the game.
The 6-foot-7 Kidd-Gilchrist had surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Oct. 6, months after he agreed to a $55 million contract extension. He was injured in the team’s first preseason game at Orlando on Oct. 3 when he landed awkwardly on the shoulder.
Kidd-Gilchrist played in 55 games last season, averaging a career-high 10.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 28.9 minutes a game.
Clifford said that there will not be strict minute restrictions on Kidd-Gilchrist.
"I think what we’ll do is just read it as we go," the coach said.
The Hornets can use him. Charlotte has been beset by injuries this season. Nicolas Batum recently missed seven games because of a right toe sprain but returned for Wednesday night’s 102-73 loss at Utah.
Jeremy Lin injured his right ankle, which gave him trouble earlier in the season, in the loss to the Jazz and wasn’t available for the game against the Blazers. Clifford said he had no timetable for Lin’s return.
Charlotte also will be without guard Jeremy Lamb for the fourth game because of a sprained big toe on his right foot.