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‘In it for the long haul’: Kings to hold rookie Harry Giles out until at least January

Joerger says young Kings have to get 'bigger, stronger, older'

Kings coach Dave Joerger shares his thoughts after Friday's game against the Spurs.
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Kings coach Dave Joerger shares his thoughts after Friday's game against the Spurs.

Harry Giles has dealt with questions about his knees for a long time, so when it was announced Friday the Kings rookie would be sidelined through January, skepticism about his health followed.

“People think I’m hurt but I’m not,” Giles said. “I can’t be worried about that; that’s why they’re on Twitter. Their opinion only matters on Twitter. For me it’s just focusing on me.”

The focus will be strengthening his knees that have been surgically repaired because of a torn ACL in each. Giles, who was also held out of summer league, will continue to practice with the team, where he can be monitored closely as he progresses.

He has not suffered any setbacks physically. For the Kings, this is about taking a long-term approach with the 19-year-old.

“It’s a long process, it’s a journey,” Giles said. “There’s no rush.”

Giles tore his left ACL in 2013 and his right in 2015 while in high school. January is significant because it will mark two years since Giles’ last surgery, and that’s considered a benchmark to measure the health and strength of the knee.

The Kings received the 6-foot-10 forward-center via trade after he was drafted 20th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA draft. Before the knee injuries, Giles was projected as a player that could be a lottery pick. Instead, his lone season at Duke was a challenge. One of the reasons he declared for the draft was so he could fully focus on getting healthy.

“More technology, more experience and more information and more time for working out,” Giles said. “It’s not that Duke didn’t have good stuff, but I couldn’t do it all day, every day.”

Some questioned why the Kings trade for a player with a history of knee problems so early in his career. But they maintain that Giles was healthy and they are high on his potential. If he can rediscover the athleticism that made him an elite prospect in high school, the Kings could have a star big man.

Until then, patience is the word.

“He’s been good,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “He knows he’s in it for the long haul. He’s a vibrant guy to be around everyday and he goes out and he’s done a good job just working.”

No matter what is said on social media, Giles is feeling good about his future.

“I’ve been down this road before and just taking it slow and be able to take my time and not rush,” Giles said. “I’m not in college where I have to go to class, all my day can be spent on getting my body stronger.”

Helping out – The proceeds from Sunday night’s preseason game in Las Vegas will be donated to aid those affected by the mass shooting on Oct. 1, the Kings announced along with the Los Angeles Lakers, T-Mobile Arena, AEG and MGM Resorts International.

The Lakers host the Kings in a preseason game in Las Vegas annually.

He’s back – Forward Rudy Gay made his preseason debut for San Antonio on Friday night at AT&T Center against his former team. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-93. Gay tore his Achilles in January while playing for the Kings. He opted out of his contract and became a free agent this summer.

The Kings rookie has nothing but good things to say about the city, the facility and the team.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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