CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges is set to return to the court Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks for an NBA In-Season Tournament game after sitting out all of last season and completing a 10-game suspension this year for his role in a domestic violence case in 2022.
Bridges’ return comes even as he has a pending court date for allegedly violating a protection order stemming from the same domestic violence incident that derailed his NBA career 16 months ago.
That court date had been set for earlier this week, but was rescheduled for Feb. 20, 2024.
The NBA confirmed to The Associated Press that it is allowing Bridges to play in the meantime.
“Miles Bridges is eligible to return to our active roster on Friday after serving his NBA suspension,” the Hornets said in a statement Thursday before practice. “We are comfortable with Miles returning to play based on our current understanding of the facts of the recent allegations and remain in contact with the NBA as that matter proceeds through the court process.”
The league imposed a 30-game suspension this summer for Bridges, but he was given credit for 20 games time served after sitting out all 82 games last season.
The 25-year-old Bridges is expected to provide a huge boost for Charlotte, which went 3-7 in his absence to start the season.
He is considered one of the team’s best players and has a notable, and at times electric, chemistry with point guard LaMelo Ball.
Bridges is expected to play right away, according to head coach Steve Clifford. It may take some time for the former Michigan State product to knock off the rust, as he last played for the Charlotte Hornets in the 2021-22 season, leading the team in scoring at 20.2 points per game and in rebounding.
Entering the summer of 2022, Bridges appeared headed for a contract worth more than $100 million as a restricted free agent, but was arrested and charged in Los Angeles on multiple counts of domestic violence just days before the start of free agency.
Bridges entered a plea of no contest in November to a felony domestic violence charge and the remaining counts against him were dismissed.
The Hornets re-signed Bridges to a one-year, $7.9 million contract this summer, but recently allegations were made that he violated the terms of his restraining order and he turned himself in to police on Oct. 13. Bridges appeared before a district court judge and was released on $1,000 bond.
Bridges “unlawfully” and “knowingly” violated the protection order, and “continually contacted the victim,” according to court documents.