Tyreke Evans' troublesome left knee was bothering him before the Kings' 122-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, but the guard tried to play on it anyway.
The experiment lasted less than a quarter, as Evans departed with 1:38 remaining in the first quarter because of knee soreness and did not return.
Evans has missed five games since injuring the knee Nov. 27 against Minnesota.
"He said that in the beginning of the game that he wasn't 100 percent, and he was going to try to roll with it," point guard Aaron Brooks said. "Unfortunately, he couldn't go."
Evans planned to travel with the team to Phoenix for tonight's game against the Suns, a Kings spokesman said. Evans finished with two points, going 0 for 4 from the floor. He was not available to the media after the game.
"I saw the way he was dragging it (in the game)," coach Keith Smart said. "It just wasn't working for him."
The Kings could be without two of their top three scorers in Phoenix. Guard Marcus Thornton missed his third consecutive game Sunday to be with his ill mother in Louisiana. Smart said he isn't sure when Thornton will return and plans to speak with him today.
"He has personal issues that he and his family are dealing with," Smart said. "Once he gets that under control and he's comfortable with it he will come back to us."
Smart said he has been in contact with Thornton and the guard is "in good spirits with everything going on."
Next day Tonight's game marks the fourth consecutive week the Kings have played on back-to-back days with a flight in between. The Kings are 2-1 on the back end of those trips.
"Right now, this is where you are with a team that doesn't make the playoffs," Smart said. "You're at the bottom of the barrel as far as how scheduling goes."
The Kings won't get any sympathy from Denver. The Nuggets have played an NBA-high 18 of 25 games on the road, where they are 7-11.
Because of the nature of Sunday's loss, several Kings players said, having another game today might be for the best.
"I think the only way you can get this out of your head is to move on from it," forward Jason Thompson said.
Getting technical With 1:38 left in the first quarter, Brooks committed a hard foul on Nuggets guard Andre Miller, and the two had to be separated, with Denver's Kenneth Faried and the Kings' DeMarcus Cousins joining the scrum. All four players received technical fouls.
It was the seventh technical of the season for Cousins, tying him with the Suns' Jermaine O'Neal for most in the league.
Smart picked up a technical in the third quarter for arguing the lack of a foul call on a Cousins shot attempt.
In memory A moment of silence was observed at Sleep Train Arena before the game in honor of the victims of Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.