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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist officially cleared for full contact practice

Help is now one step closer to returning for the Hornets.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets and their fanbase had an exciting Monday, thanks in no small part to Kemba Walker setting a new franchise record. On Tuesday, they got even more good news.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who tore the labrum in the right shoulder a more than three months ago and was expected to miss the entirety of the 2015-2016 regular season, has been cleared to participate in full contact practice, the team announced. There is still no official timetable on his return to the active roster and starting lineup, but the fact that he is even at this stage in his recovery this quickly is mind blowing.

There were high hopes for Kidd-Gilchrist coming into this season. During the 2014-2015 campaign, he set new career highs in points, rebounds and minutes, and led all small forwards in rebounds per game. His new shooting form also gave the team and fans hope that he could continue to grow his offensive game and become a franchise cornerstone.

Charlotte desperately needs Kidd-Gilchrist back. Since teaming up with coach Steve Clifford, Kidd-Gilchrist and the Hornets have never given up more than 97.3 points per game to their opponents. This season, without their defensive captain, the Hornets have been giving up 100.8 points per game.

Perhaps Kidd-Gilchrist's return could be what helps spark a turnaround for the Hornets as they fight to get back in playoff position. Crank up Rise Against, Buzz City. Help is on the way.