by James Ham and Jonathan Santiago

Tyler Honeycutt defends Monta Ellis (Photo: Steven Chea) 650x400

Tyler Honeycutt faces yet another setback in his young career.

The Sacramento Kings announced that the second-year forward has suffered a stress fracture in his right fibula.  They discovered the break during Honeycutt’s preseason physical today.  The former UCLA forward is expected to miss all of training camp and the preseason.

“That’s a tremendous setback,” said Kings head coach Keith Smart of Honeycutt’s injury to a crowded group of reporters at Kings media day.  ”Because as a young player, a wing player, you’re trying to play catch up already…And then when you keep having injuries that are setting you back, time keeps moving and unfortunately you’re the one that’s on the end of that.

“We’re gonna do all we can to make sure he’s healthy,” Smart continued.  ”And when he  ets an opportunity to come back and they release him to be ready to play, we’re gonna be more than happy for him.”

This is the second time this offseason Honeycutt has suffered injury.  In June, a diagnosis revealed a stress fracture in the head of his second metatarsal in his right foot, which kept him out of summer league action.

“It’s a different injury,” Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie said this afternoon. “But it’s still going to keep him out for three or four weeks and he didn’t have the benefit of summer league or training camp a year ago – he’s (going to) miss another training camp now.

“He’s (going to) have to really focus on  trying to stay tuned in on what we’re trying to get done on training camp,” Petrie added.  ”Trying to maintain whatever conditioning level you can with a lower extremity injuryand then work his way in once when we get into the regular season.”

According to sources, Honeycutt was already on shaky ground with the franchise and needed a solid camp to solidify his roster spot.  With Honeycutt’s health struggles, a door has opened for rookie swingman Tony Mitchell, who made a strong showing for the Kings in Las Vegas.

“We really liked him in summer league,” said Petrie of Mitchell’s play in Sin City. “He’s played well in formal scrimmages that the team’s had.  We’re just going to continue to just evaluate him.”

Smart added that even if Honeycutt were healthy, Mitchell was aware he had a legitimate chance to make the roster.

“All these guys coming in here know we’ve consistently been around that 25-win total,” said Smart of his team.  ”So, they all know coming in here that it’s all open – it’s wide open.  So, this is a great camp to be in when you have a chance to prove your point based on what we’re trying to get accomplished.”