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The NBA's new broken-hand epidemic

DALLAS -- Those who know Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist well say they're close as brothers.

Only now they're linked in a way that has players all over the NBA map wincing.

Nothing inspires dread among professional basketball players like a knee tear -- or, worse, an Achilles rupture -- but hand fractures have officially reached epidemic status in this league after Tuesday night here in Dallas. That's because MKG, in an eventual 89-82 loss to the Mavs, suffered a fate eerily similar to the displaced fracture that KO'd his former Kentucky colleague Davis just two nights earlier in New York.

Throw in the similar setbacks suffered recently by J.J. Redick and Paul Pierce and that's four significant NBA hand injuries in less than a week ... though it must be noted that Redick's diagnosis (which includes a tear in his elbow) is the most severe.

Davis, Pierce and now Kidd-Gilchrist have all absorbed displaced fractures just since Friday. And this one hit MKG and the Bobcats hard, presumably shelving 2012's No. 2 overall pick for at least a month and -- for all the cracks about MKG's wayward shooting -- has robbed first-year Charlotte coach Steve Clifford of his best perimeter defender on a team that relies on D more than any other just to stay in games.

"It's a hit," Clifford said after the Bobcats' frustrating fall-from-ahead defeat. "It's a big hit."

And it left Kidd-Gilchrist dazed to the point he was spotted staring in disbelief at the new splint on his left hand for several minutes before reporters were waved in to ask him exactly what happened.

Then the 20-year-old almost didn't know what to say once he finally started fielding questions.

After needing the assistance of Bobcats PR man Josh Rosen to pull on a looser-fitting team shooting shirt, instead of the shirt he was sporting when he walked off the team bus, Kidd-Gilchrist could only shake his head when The Unibrow's name came up and said: "I didn't know it was going to happen to me."

Even worse: Kidd-Gilchrist revealed that, unlike Davis, he has no idea how he suffered the injury. Davis is convinced he suffered his injury when his left hand hit the rim at Madison Square Garden; Kidd-Gilchrist didn't even realize his plight until he looked down at his left hand in the third quarter and saw that his ring finger was completely out of alignment.

"It was [pointing] the wrong way," MKG said. "That's it.

"I was really surprised. I didn't feel anything at the time. ... It happens in this league."

These days?

It seems to be happening almost every day.