SALT LAKE CITY Chuck Hayes returned to the Kings' lineup Saturday night when they played the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
He might not be back for long. Hayes left the game with 4.2 seconds to play, holding his arm in pain. He had missed the previous 11 games after dislocating his left shoulder Jan. 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hayes was holding his left arm as he left the floor after committing a foul in the Kings' 96-93 loss. He had eight rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes.
Kings coach Keith Smart said he didn't know the extent of Hayes' injury and that the team would have more information today.
Hayes left the arena without his arm in a sling.
Smart welcomed Hayes back as an extension of the coaching staff on the court and credited Hayes with helping the Kings rally from 13 points down in the fourth quarter.
"As we went through our personnel (Saturday) morning, Chuck's sitting on the side and really helping communicate what certain players can do, and that's what you need from a veteran on a young ballclub," Smart said.
Even while he was injured, Hayes was vocal on the sidelines in trying to help direct his teammates.
Having that voice on the court could help what has been one of the worst defensive teams in the league this season.
"We haven't had that kind of communication with him out," Smart said. "With him being back and he's right into the scouting report, communicating that, sharing with these young players how important it is for them to stay close to the scouting report, and then once we go through the walkthrough, having a voice as well."
Hayes said he learned the importance of being prepared from veterans like Dikembe Mutombo and Juwan Howard, who were in the later stages of their careers.
As Hayes put it, good teams "prepare well," and that is something he wants his teammates to learn.
"I had some great vets," Hayes said. "And I had some superstars like Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. I've been with stars in their prime and I've been with stars past their primes and just being professionals, so I get it."
More work After having hardly any practice time since taking over as coach Jan. 5, Smart will hold his third team practice in four days today in Sacramento.