Get the latest status updates on Evans and Thornton, as well as a look at Salmons’ integral leadership role. Plus, Fredette dishes on his recently-released wedding video.
After missing the previous 11 games with a sore left knee, Tyreke Evans compared returning to the hardwood on Monday to making his NBA debut.
“Last night was just a little test, but I think (after) getting practice in today – these two practices (prior to Thursday’s game) – I’ll be cool,” he said.
No. 13 went through a full session Tuesday, focusing primarily on defense, and experienced no setbacks or further discomfort.
“(My knee) feels good,” he said a day after notching five points in 12 minutes of court time. “(It feels) no different than how it did before, so that’s a good sign.”
Kings Head Coach Keith Smart noticed the immediate impact and uptick in energy the Memphis product brought when he entered the game at the 4:48 mark in the second quarter.
“Last night was good for him – he had a chance to really have to guard someone where there aren’t any breaks,” said the Kings leader. “He wants to play (and) he brought what he does – he pushed the basketball.”
Smart says while the shooting guard worked extensively on his conditioning in recent weeks through cardiovascular exercise, Evans will aim to regain his rhythm by putting in additional hours in the training facility over the coming days.
“He just has no feel right now … the depth perception of where (he is) on the floor in relation to where the basket is is just not there right now, but that comes with time,” said Smart.
“He came in earlier this morning and put his shots up, and then he went through the normal, full practice. At some point, he may come back tonight with one of our coaches. Then, we have two days to try to build his base up a little bit.”
– Smart disclosed guard Marcus Thornton went through a full practice with no restrictions for the first time since spraining his left ankle on Dec. 30.
“We did some really nice work today, so it was a positive for him,” the Kings leader said.
“He (put in) a little light work in Brooklyn, but nothing to where it was five-on-five (with) movement, changing (direction), running and stuff like that. He didn’t look like he had any effects.”
Prior to Monday’s contest, No. 23 revealed he ran on the treadmill and felt minimal soreness.
“(With) these next couple of days before we play Thursday, I should be ready,” Thornton said.
Although Smart is hopeful the guard will play against Dallas, the team’s training staff will reevaluate his progress and determine his status prior to tip-off against the Mavericks.
“I think he’s going to be ready to go based on what he did today,” said Smart. “The biggest thing now is in the morning – what happens and how (his ankle) responds to real work.”
– Over the course of his career, veteran forward-guard John Salmons has played a key role on four Playoff contenders while serving as a reliable mentor and calming influence on numerous rising squads.
“Every team goes through ups and downs,” said. No. 5. “You just have to help them realize that’s part of the season, you just have to stay focused, stay with it, just keep at it and get back on the horse.”
Unlike his first tenure in Sacramento from 2006-07 to 2008-09, the Kings are younger and less experienced, presenting the University of Miami product the opportunity to embrace a leadership role.
“It’s been an eventful season so far,” he said. “(I’m) just speaking out more than I have in the past and trying to lead by example, as well.”
Salmons has averaged 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and one steal over the last nine games – all starts – notching a season-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field in a win over Boston on Dec. 30, 2012.
“The guy has been great … I put him in post situations, pick-and-roll situations, and he’s delivered every single time,” said Smart.
“He did an incredible job last night … defending Rudy Gay. Then, we’re asking him to also carry us offensively, and I thought he did that in the first half. Everything he’s doing has been really, really good for our team.”
– Recently, Jimmer Fredette and his wife Whitney released their wedding video online, showcasing the happy couple’s rehearsal dinner and reception, as well as No. 7’s moves on the dance floor.
“We made it so that people could see it,” said the BYU product. “During your wedding, it’s all about fun – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity (and) it’s an amazing day.
“We didn’t think it was going to go viral or be on ESPN and all that stuff, but it has been and I don’t mind at all.”