Kings forward Omri Casspi was asked if he had any limitations in his return from a knee injury.
“No,” he said. “I’m all out.”
That’s what the Kings need from Casspi, who played Monday against Golden State for the first time since Dec. 6 and had 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a 128-108 loss.
Casspi had been one of the Kings’ most productive bench players before his left knee began giving him problems. Even before he missed seven games, Casspi’s knee was an issue, and his contributions are based on his ability to provide a spark with his energetic play.
The injury, diagnosed as a left knee bone contusion, prevented Casspi from going all out.
“It really bothered me,” he said. “I felt it at night, just walking, when I was running. I couldn’t jump.”
Casspi tried to play through the discomfort.
“At some point, the medical staff just said you’ve got to rest it, you’ve got to let it heal,” he said. “It was a bone bruise, and I really don’t remember getting hit, just inflammation, and I had to recover.”
Casspi, averaging 8.6 points and 3.6 rebounds, was signed in hopes he’d fit in with a fast-paced offense and help space the floor with three-point shooting.
Though his three-point shot has not been what the Kings expected – he’s made just 2 of 14 attempts – he’s been an impact player off the bench in every other area.
“I try to bring that energy, that’s the most important thing,” Casspi said. “... Just trying to be aggressive, trying to get offensive rebounds, trying to push the pace, kind of do the stuff they want to do.”
More McCallum – Before Monday’s game, Kings coach Tyrone Corbin said Ramon Sessions remains a valuable part of the team as the backup point guard.
But after six minutes in the first half, Corbin went with Ray McCallum, who played 20 minutes and had a season-high seven assists.
McCallum, a second-year guard, is one of the Kings’ better perimeter defenders and is popular with fans who want to see him play more. He wants to prove he’s a facilitator, not just a scorer.
“That’s something that has to be a strength of mine,” McCallum said. “I have to try to find guys; there are a lot of talented players.”
McCallum was the MVP in the Kings’ summer league championship victory, but he dropped to third point guard after the team signed Sessions before training camp.
McCallum has played in consecutive games for just the third time this season, partly because Sessions is dealing with a lower back strain.
“It’s tough, but that’s something that I have to do,” McCallum said. “I have to be the sparkplug off the bench, come in with a defensive mindset and try to pick up full court, disrupt the offense as much as I can. I have to take pride in my defense and come in with energy.”
Days off – The Kings have three days off before their next game Friday against the Phoenix Suns at Sleep Train Arena.
“I think these days will help,” center DeMarcus Cousins said. “For the team to clear our minds, some of these guys rest up, for me to get back in the gym and try to get into better shape, just come back refocused and ready to play. That’s all we can do.”
Cousins has averaged 26.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 33 minutes in three games since he missed 10 games because of viral meningitis.
The Kings were off Tuesday and will practice Wednesday.