The Hornets put together their best season since returning to Charlotte, collecting 48 regular season wins and pushing the Heat to seven games in the opening round of the playoffs. The success came despite an unfortunate accident that left forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum. The 22 year-old vigorously completed rehabbed following surgery, only to re-injure the shoulder seven games in to his return. Additionally veteran big man Al Jefferson’s reoccurring knee problems persisted as he missed 23 games following surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Together Kidd-Gilchrist and Jefferson accounted for 62 percent of Charlotte’s games lost to injury.
Despite these impactful injuries, head athletic trainer Steve Stricker and company still managed to keep the team’s total games lost to injury hovering around the league average. Now they will be challenged with keeping one of the NBA’s younger rosters healthy to ensure the team sustains its recent success. It won’t be easy as multiple players spent the summer rehabbing injuries. It starts at the top with guard Kemba Walker who underwent surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his left knee shortly after the season ended. The knee has been an issue since Walker’s days at UConn and will be closely monitored throughout the season. Second year forward Frank Kaminsky also went under the knife, undergoing a minor procedure to remove a pocket of air between his chest and lungs. Stricker and the remainder of the Hornets medical team successfully navigated a handful of injuries during training camp and preseason and will look to build on their recent run of success throughout the year.