Kings notes: Evans still plans return on Monday

Published: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 - 8:43 am

NEW YORK – Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) said he is still on track to return to action Monday when the Kings host the Memphis Grizzlies.

"It feels pretty good," Evans said of his knee. "Hopefully, it'll be good when I get off the plane (in Sacramento)."

Evans hasn't played since Dec. 16. He's missed 16 games, including the last 11, because of his knee.

After missing three games because of knee soreness in December, Evans came off the bench in his first game back. He expects that to be the plan Monday, partly because of his conditioning after not playing in three weeks.

"I think I'm just going to come off the bench," Evans said. "I know I'm going to be a little tired because in my workouts I'm tired. I'm just going to try and play as hard as I can, and when I need a break, coach will take me out.

Evans is the Kings' second-leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points.

Also making progress – Marcus Thornton (sprained left ankle) didn't play during the four-game trip. But he doesn't plan on sitting out much longer.

"I'm thinking (this) week sometime I'll be ready," he said.

Thornton is no longer wearing a walking boot on his left foot, and the intensity of his workouts is picking up.

"(The training staff has) me moving in my shoe again," Thornton said. "It's just about getting the strength back in it and getting it going again."

Thornton sprained his ankle last Sunday against Boston and had to be helped off the court. At the time, he feared he'd done more than sprain his ankle.

"I thought it was going to be way worse," Thornton said. "It felt worse at that point in time. It was agonizing pain. Thank God it wasn't worse than what it was."

Thornton is the Kings' third-leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points.

Dropping hints – After Isaiah Thomas lost the starting spot at point guard to Aaron Brooks, coach Keith Smart said Thomas never stopped working hard.

Smart said Thomas always had a smile when he'd walk by with a message.

" 'Coach, I want my position back,' " Smart said Thomas would tell him. "I told him to be patient and keep working."

The Kings are 4-2 since Thomas returned to the starting lineup.

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