Less than two hours before tipoff Tuesday night, Ty Lawson wanted to be on the court at Pepsi Center, preparing to face his former team, the Denver Nuggets.
Instead he sat in the Kings’ locker room receiving drops in his right eye.
The last few days have been tough for the veteran point guard, who was on track to play Tuesday before being ruled out because of a broken blood vessel in the right eye.
After getting treated by the team’s medical staff, Lawson said, “It’s still blurry.”
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On Saturday, Lawson suffered a sinus fracture when he bumped heads with Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. Despite that injury, Lawson was listed as probable Tuesday and planned to play without a protective mask. But after he went onto the court for warmups, Lawson’s vision blurred.
It would be preferable to have him off the bench, be an energy guy and pick your matchups. But he never shies away. He’s one of the most competitive guys we have on the roster. He goes out there and gives us everything he has. He’s been doing great.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach, on forward Matt Barnes
Garrett Temple replaced Lawson, who has been manning the point for the second unit and finishing games lately because Darren Collison has struggled.
Rookie minutes – After Saturday’s loss to Memphis, Kings coach Dave Joerger indicated he might give rookie guard Malachi Richardson more minutes. Shooting guard has been a problem all season, and the team was short-handed at the position because Arron Afflalo was sidelined by a strained right elbow.
Well, not so fast.
Afflalo returned Tuesday after a three-game absence, cutting into Richardson’s possible playing time. Ben McLemore started at shooting guard.
Even with Rudy Gay (strained right hip flexor) still out, Joerger said getting Richardson playing time at small forward was not an immediate option.
“It depends on the night, depends on the matchups,” Joerger said. “You don’t want to throw him out there against somebody who’s been in the league for 10 years who’s a tough cover. These are two important games for us, and sometimes it’s not fair to put a young guy in those situations.”
The Nuggets’ top two scorers are wing players Danilo Gallinari (17.0 average) and Wilson Chandler (16.4). Richardson might have a better chance of playing Wednesday against the Miami Heat, who are missing wing players Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow because of injuries.
Still no rest – With Gay having missed nine of the last 10 games, Matt Barnes has remained in the starting lineup at small forward.
It depends on the night, depends on the matchups. You don’t want to throw him out there against somebody who’s been in the league for 10 years who’s a tough cover.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach, on rookie Malachi Richardson
Joerger wanted to rest Barnes, 36, at least once a week but put that plan on hold.
“It would be preferable to have him off the bench, be an energy guy and pick your matchups,” Joerger said. “But he never shies away. He’s one of the most competitive guys we have on the roster. He goes out there and gives us everything he has. He’s been doing great.”