Kings coach Dave Joerger, who returned to Sacramento on Monday for additional testing after becoming lightheaded briefly during the first quarter of Sunday’s game in San Antonio, is expected to resume coaching in the next week.
The symptoms subsided quickly, but Joerger did not return to the game. Comprehensive tests by the Kings’ medical staff showed Joerger is healthy, the team announced Tuesday.
Lead assistant Elston Turner, who took over for Joerger in Sunday’s 113-98 loss to the Spurs, will coach Tuesday against the New Orleans and will fill in until Joerger returns.
Joerger was yelling on the sideline at an official when he became lightheaded and went down to a knee before being escorted off the court to be examined by medical staff.
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Turner has filled in for head coaches a few times, including for Joerger when he was ejected from games while both were in Memphis. Turner also filled in for the Kings as assistant under Rick Adelman.
“There’s definitely a difference,” Turner said. “A little different in making suggestions rather than making decisions. It was fun trying to put everything together, matchups, what they’re running, what we need to run.”
Turner said the Kings played well in San Antonio – they committed only nine turnovers and made a season-high 18 3-pointers – but they faded late in the game.
“We’ve been playing well, and as strange as a comment it is in a loss, I thought we played pretty damn good,” Turner said.
With a win over New Orleans, the Kings would go 3-3 on the trip, which would be a positive sign, considering they lost the first two games, increasing their losing streak to a season-worst eight games.
And though players were concerned about Joerger on Sunday, they didn’t allow the situation to affect their play.
“Sometimes in those situations guys rally together and sometimes honestly players play freer,” said guard Garrett Temple, who sat out the game due to an ankle injury. “Guys that may have been looking over their shoulder at things coach may say in terms of the shots they take, no matter what type of coach you have.”
Turner said the Kings need to continue to improve, which he believes they’ve done recently.
Rookie guard De’Aaron Fox had a career-high 26 points against the Spurs, including making all six of his 3-pointers, and rookie forward Justin Jackson is playing better recently.
“We don’t want to regress, we don’t want to take steps backward,” Turner said. “Let the score indicate whatever it’s going to indicate but when we go in the locker room, it needs to be similar to (Sunday) with us being satisfied with how we played, the intensity, the effort, the mental capacity, the chemistry.”