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.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Jason Jones
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.