Last Saturday, the Kings were without their starting frontcourt for their preseason opener at Golden State.
It wasn't an ideal situation for the Kings, considering the lockout-shortened season gives them only two weeks and two games to prepare for Monday's regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.
After an emotional week for the Kings, they will have their starting frontcourt back for this morning's practice before taking Christmas off.
Forward-center Chuck Hayes is back. He re-signed Friday night after having his contract voided Monday for failing his physical because of a heart abnormality.
Hayes was cleared to return to basketball Thursday.
Center DeMarcus Cousins is good to go. He sprained his right ankle last week and sat out the end of Thursday's practice after bumping knees with a teammate.
And John Salmons, the small forward the Kings traded for in June, practiced fully Friday for the first time since leaving the open scrimmage at Power Balance Pavilion on Dec. 15 with a right quadriceps contusion.
The frontcourt players will join guards Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton in the starting lineup against the Lakers.
"It's very nice," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "Are we going to be in midseason form? Absolutely not, and we can't expect it, but we're going to get them together as soon as we can and keep them together and build this thing in a way that I think can last."
Hayes hasn't practiced since Dec. 14, but he's expected to fit in where he was before having more tests on his heart.
Hayes, who had played his first six seasons in Houston, made a big impression with the Kings in less than two weeks.
Players chose to keep Hayes' jersey in the locker room during Tuesday's preseason game against the Warriors.
And players broke their huddles by saying "Chuck!" Westphal joked that won't happen anymore to avoid inflating Hayes' ego.
Cousins said the Kings' "prayers were answered" when they found out Hayes was healthy.
"Chuck was that veteran leader on this team," Cousins said. "Chuck was basically the voice on this team, the most experienced. That's who we all looked up to, and when Chuck left, that was a big piece of our team."
Salmons, another veteran, also began to assert himself as a leader at the start of training camp.
He was limited in Thursday's practice but participated fully Friday. Salmons suffered a similar injury in his first stint with the Kings.
Salmons said he usually wears padding on his leg in games, but not always in practice, to prevent similar injuries. That will change.
"I felt pretty good (Friday)," Salmons said. "I was able to move up and down. As long as it's to the point I can actually move, I'm good."
Salmons and Thornton had been cited as the two best players in training camp. Salmons was added to stabilize the small forward spot on offense and defense.
The Kings have since added Travis Outlaw, who will start if Salmons has a setback.
"I thought (Salmons) was terrific out there," Westphal said. "He was probably 80 percent, but assuming he doesn't regress (today), it was a great sign to have him out there going 80 percent. He's fitting right in."