NEW ORLEANS The Kings' second unit has been altered a lot lately.
Coach Keith Smart had worked on developing a rotation where he could play five reserves at once, but that hasn't been possible recently because of injuries.
The biggest loss has been guard/forward John Salmons, who missed his 10th consecutive game Wednesday because of a sore right hip, an injury that had nagged him before he was sidelined.
Salmons was averaging 8.1 points and shooting 53.4 percent in 14 games as a reserve.
"He'd gotten to the point where he understood the position (point guard) as well as understanding how to keep that group under control," Smart said. "He and Francisco (Garcia) and Chuck (Hayes) were really good at keeping things under control. Anytime we were down or holding on to a lead, that group came in and pushed us ahead or solidified what we were doing."
With seven games remaining in the season, there's no timetable for Salmons' return. Since the injury, he has not been with the team on trips.
"It's more so what our training staff says," Smart said. "Plus, he hasn't been able to run, so now you're dealing with a conditioning issue. I know his basketball conditioning has dropped completely, and you have to deal with that part of that as well as whatever the setback from the injury might be. When they tell me he's ready to go, he'll be ready to go."
The addition of Terrence Williams has helped Smart deal with the loss of Salmons. But the Kings also have been without Garcia (concussion) for the last three games.
Smart said there are no plans to keep Garcia out the rest of the season.
"I think when you start X-ing players off, it doesn't sit well with the team," Smart said.
More injuries Backup center Hassan Whiteside left Wednesday's game with 5:01 left in the second quarter because of a sprained right ankle and did return.
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