Kings' veteran additions still recovering from injuries
10/13/2013 12:00 AM
10/08/2014 10:51 AM
There's a lot of newness to the Kings this season. But in two preseason games, most of the playing time has been primarily occupied by the players from past seasons.
Rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum have been on the court, but there has been little or no playing time for the three key veterans added to the mix.
Point guard Greivis Vasquez (ankle) is on track to make his debut Monday when the Kings host the Los Angeles Clippers in their preseason home opener.
But Carl Landry (strained quad) has yet to play in the preseason. Luc Mbah a Moute sat out last Thursday's win against the Los Angeles Lakers with a sore right knee.
Each is expected to play an important role during the regular season as the Kings look to end a streak of seven consecutive losing seasons.
"It's not going to hold us back because no matter who is on the floor every day we're going to do what we have to do," said Kings coach Michael Malone.
"We're going to get better. We're going to take a step in the right direction. We're going to build this thing."
Holding out Vasquez is a precaution since he was only cleared for full contact at the start of training camp following offseason ankle surgery.
Vasquez has practiced while waiting to play in a game.
Landry has a strained quad that's lingered from the Kings' time in Santa Barbara for training camp.
Landry signed a four-year contract in the offseason to add a veteran who can score and is familiar with Malone's philosophies after playing for him when he was an assistant coach in New Orleans and Golden State.
When Landry will be healthy enough to play is uncertain.
"I believe they've gotten the MRIs done and the results," Malone said. "I'm waiting to speak with (director of sports medicine) Pete Youngman and (general manager) Pete D'Alessandro about that, but Carl could be out for a short time as he kind of recoups from that quad strain."
Mbah a Moute's right knee has bothered him at times the last two seasons. He played 17 minutes in the Kings' preseason opener against Golden State.
Malone said the knee is something Mbah a Moute might have to manage during the season.
"Some days he's got to battle through it, and other days he may have to sit out and try to get back to where it was," Malone said. "He played for his country (Cameroon) this summer. He tweaked his ankle, which is fine now, but he's just got a sore knee at this point."
Malone would like to have all his players available, but the injuries have allowed him to get a better look at other players.
"If those guys are here for that and they're able to practice, great," Malone said. "If they're not, that's another opportunity for Travis Outlaw to show what he can do, like he did against the Lakers One man's loss is another man's opportunity."
Outlaw is filling in at small forward (Mbah a Moute's position) and power forward (Landry's position) and scored a team-high 18 points against the Lakers.
"Travis is a big part of our team," said center DeMarcus Cousins. "It wasn't obvious in past seasons for whatever reasons they may have been. But we all know Travis can play, and he got a chance (Thursday), and he showed it."
Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.
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