Today at the practice facility, the Kings were forced to play short-handed because of the absence of both Samuel Dalembert and Tyreke Evans. Dalembert has flown back to Philadelphia to attend the funeral of long time 76er beat writer Phil Jasner who passed away Friday after a battle with cancer. Evans was in Los Angeles visiting a foot specialist to get a second opinion on his ailing plantar fasciitis. Following practice, Coach Westphal had this to say about Evans:
It’s always a fine line. If a player plays when he’s injured and doesn’t play as well, does that mean that he shouldn’t play? But then, if he doesn’t play, then people will say, “oh, he’s a wimp, he can’t play with a little pain.” So it’s really a tough thing for a player to know, and Tyreke doesn’t complain and obviously he hasn’t been as effective and consistent this year as he was last year, and I don’t think it’s because the league figured him out all of a sudden.
A lot of the plays he was making last year, people would kind of sit back and say, “wow, how did he do that?” He’s not making as many of those plays and now there are plays where it seems like he should make them and we go, “how did he miss that?” Well, it’s the same player and he’s got the same dedication and the same heart and the same focus and even more knowledge of the game. There’s obviously something going on that’s frustrating for Tyreke and everybody watching and we’re trying to get to the bottom of it and we’ll deal with whatever the doctor says and go from there.”
Later this evening, the verdict came in and Coach Westphal shared this message to the listeners of Sacramento-based radio station KHTK 1140 during an interview with hosts Jason Ross and Henry Turner:
The report was pretty good. He has to continue some treatment, but he’s expected to play tomorrow. It’s pretty much what our medical staff has said all along. It’s not debilitating. We need to keep an eye on it and if it gets worse, there might be some rest involved. Various treatments and rest during off-days. It’s a good prognosis and he should be able to play these games and play at a high level.
After averaging over 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists last season to win the NBA rookie of the year trophy, Tyreke Evans has seen his scoring sag to 17.6 points per game on only 39.9% shooting from the field. The Kings are looking for answers to why their star in the making has struggled as is Evans’ agent who specifically asked for the second opinion.
The Kings are 4-15 this season, losers of 8 consecutive and 14 of their last 15. Their search for answers did not start, and will not stop, at Tyreke Evans’ sore foot, but they need him to snap out of his funk if they have any hope of turning things around.