Darren Collison might thrive in George Karl’s system, but he can’t until he gets on the court.
Collison missed his seventh consecutive game Wednesday because of a strained right hip flexor. He met with a specialist in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and his status remained uncertain.
“I think there’s still discussions going on with doctors,” Karl said. “I think something will probably be known in the next couple of days. It’s in the hands of interpretations and doctors.”
Collison is having his best season statistically, averaging 16.1 points and 5.6 assists. He last played in a Feb. 5 loss to Dallas.
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Collison is suited to play the uptempo style favored by Karl because he can get up the floor quickly and attack.
“His speed is the kind of point guard I like,” Karl said. “I like the game to happen before the defense gets set. Ray (McCallum) can do that, but I think Darren is a little better than Ray, and when you have two, it’s easier to play that way.”
McCallum has started the last three games for Collison.
Benchmarks – As Karl seeks effective combinations for the Kings’ second unit, Omri Casspi has fit in well with solid outings in the Karl’s first two games as coach.
Casspi had a career-high 17 rebounds Saturday in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“(Casspi) reminds me of Corey Brewer, who we had in Denver,” Karl said. “Kind of an energy, hustle guy off the bench who gives you some little things that help you win basketball games.”
The other reserve Karl counts on is Andre Miller, his trusted veteran from their time together in Denver.
“I think Andre and (Casspi) are kind of my security blankets off the bench right now,” Karl said.
Karl hasn’t experimented much with the starting five, keeping Jason Thompson in the lineup the past two games after bringing him off the bench in his first game as coach. The plan was to mix things up more, but Collison’s injury has hampered the roster’s flexibility.
Ripple effect – Without Collison, Karl is giving Miller extensive minutes. Ideally, Karl would play the 38-year-old Miller less.
“Andre could play 30, 35 minutes if he had to, but I think that would bury him for another game,” Karl said.
Karl said he’d like to split McCallum’s and Miller’s minutes as evenly as possible, with each playing about 24. McCallum would be needed more late in games for his defense, while Miller would be relied on to run the offense more.