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Tyreke Returns to Practice

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Filed under Analysis, Big Post, From the Practice Facility, Hoops, Off the Court, Practice Coverage.

Tyreke Returns to Practice

Get the latest on No. 13’s health. Plus, find out how Isaiah Thomas recently teamed up with a fellow NBA player to help make a positive impact in the community.

Following a two-game absence due to injury, Tyreke Evans (bruised left knee) resumed practicing Monday.

“It feels much better – it felt great,” said No. 13. “I (went) up and down to run a couple of offensive plays (and) did some shooting drills. (My knee is) still tweaked a little bit, but before I couldn’t even move like that, so it’s a good sign.”

While Evans’ status for Wednesday’s contest won’t be determined until the team’s training staff reevaluates how the guard’s knee responds to treatment over the coming days, Kings Head Coach Keith Smart tentatively expects Evans to be in the lineup against Toronto.

“I think he will be (ready to play), but we can’t pinpoint that,” said the Kings leader. “We’ll see how he responds.”

The Memphis product – who reveals the injury occurred when he bumped knees with Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko while defending a pick-and-roll on Nov. 27 – says the sharp pain, which kept him awake at night, has largely subsided and he’s regained much of his flexibility.

“I can shoot off the dribble more – I couldn’t bend my leg (after sustaining the bruise), so that’s a good sign,” he said. “I’m just going to get treatment and see how I feel tomorrow, and (if) I feel fine, I’m going to (play).”

Once Evans is back at full strength, Smart, praising the guard’s decision-making, expects No. 13 to continue playing at one of the highest levels of his young career.

“I’ve posted him up, I’ve put him on the elbow, he’s spotted up for open shots … (defended) the man he was guarding,” said the Kings coach. “He was doing everything – he was doing what you thought he could possibly do as a (shooting guard) and locked into that position. Now, we just have to get him started again and get his game-conditioning back.”

Free Throws

– While Francisco Garcia had played just 48 minutes in five games prior to Evans’ injury, the eighth-year veteran stepped in admirably when called upon by Smart. Over the last two contests, the Louisville product averaged 7.5 points in 12.6 minutes while hitting 6-of-8 attempts from the field.

“I just keep working hard,” said Garcia. “(I’m) just being a pro – working hard after practice, before practice and staying positive.”

Smart recognizes No. 32’s commitment and praises his work ethic.

“The pros … work at their craft seriously without someone having to tell them, (without) someone in the gym watching over them – he’s one of those guys,” said the Kings leader.

“Every day the guy is working hard, and he’s also engaged in the game, so in the event something happens, he can go in the game and play.”

– Sacramento’s coach disclosed he carefully reevaluates his game-to-game coaching decisions by tracking every possession of each game.

“I chart every play – offensively and defensively,” he said. “I want to know what I did and should’ve done. Could I have played this guy more? Should I have played him less? I’m constantly evaluating.”

And One

– Kings guard Isaiah Thomas on Nov. 29 joined Pacers center Roy Hibbert at a downtown fundraiser for the grieving family of the late Lee Eddins, a 12-year-old Sacramento native who was a passionate fan of Indiana’s 7-footer.

The young boy lost his battle with leukemia in August, a day before Hibbert was scheduled to pay a surprise visit to the Eddins home.

“(When I found out about the event) and I saw what it was for, I was all for it,” said Thomas. “I wanted to show my face and my support because the story is sad, and I pray for the family and friends.”

The Pacers All-Star, who also came out to meet the family over the summer, says it meant a lot to him to attend the event to help launch a foundation in the young fan’s honor.

“It’s something to remember him and his name,” said Hibbert. “I went to dinner with the family. We talked and I (listened to) them reminisce about him. I (was able) to meet his coach, his vice principal and some of his friends.

“I just want to show my support and let them know that I’m thinking about them.”

While Thomas didn’t get a chance to speak to the family directly, he passed along his condolences.

“You just have to stay strong with one another and keep your head up,” said No. 22.

Hibbert was glad to see Thomas devote his free time to coming out to the benefit.

“He came through and showed support (which is) a good thing,” said Hibbert. “We said hello, (but we were) just there for the family.”

For more information about BloodSource, a Donor Recruitment Center that was involved with Eddins’ bone marrow drives in the Sacramento area, please visit: http://www.bloodsource.org. Also, stay current with Kings.com for details about an upcoming marrow drive on Jan. 11, 2013.

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