The Sacramento Kings are not ruling out some of their rotation players who are dealing with injuries going into Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Notably, second-year forward Keegan Murray was listed as questionable Tuesday evening after suffering a lower back injury in Monday’s blowout loss in New Orleans. Reserve forward Trey Lyles is also listed as questionable after missing the first 13 games of the season with left calf strain. Chris Duarte, who exited Monday’s game with a left thumb injury, is also listed as questionable.
Reserve forward Sasha Vezenkov was not listed on the injury report after missing Monday’s game with a thumb injury. Backup guard Ellis (ankle) remains out. The Kings following Wednesday’s game will travel to Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday in their third NBA Cup in-season tournament game. The Timberwolves currently have the best record in the Western Conference.
The injuries could mean more playing time for players like Kessler Edwards and rookie Colby Jones if Murray and Duarte miss time.
“When your number’s called, you got to step up, you got to perform,” head coach Mike Brown said.
The last time the Kings played consecutive road games against the same opponent came Nov. 4-6 against the Houston Rockets while the team was missing star guard De’Aaron Fox, who was out five games with an ankle injury. Sacramento lost both games, but reserve guard Keon Ellis played well in garbage time, which led to Ellis replacing Davion Mitchell in the rotation.
“I thought in Houston when that happened, we had guys step up and perform. You’re like, ‘OK, wow, we got some fight in guys,’” Brown said. “I didn’t think we had any fight (Monday) from anybody.”
The Kings may wait until just before Wednesday’s game to announce whether Duarte, Lyles and Marray are active. Murray appeared in 80 games last season despite dealing with a painful thumb injury last December that forced him to wear a brace for a prolonged period during the middle of the season.
Lyles played in 74 of 82 possible games last season. He suffered his calf injury during warmups in an October preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. Lyles participated in a full-court, five-on-five scrimmage ahead of Monday’s game and posted a clip from “Wolf of Wall Street” on his Instagram story that would indicate he’s close to returning.