DeMarcus Cousins scowls during a stoppage in action against the Hawks. (Photo: Steven Chea)Will DeMarcus Cousins play Friday when the Sacramento Kings host the visiting New York Knicks?

The final say is up to Keith Smart, who has apparently made a decision. But in typical Smart fashion, he wouldn’t offer any further details.

“I won’t share it right now,” Smart said following Thursday practice. “Because that’s my prerogative to keep it where I want to keep it right now.”

The media aren’t the only ones in the dark about Cousins’ availability for tomorrow’s game.  The Kings big man says that Smart has yet to tell him if he’ll be seeing action for the first time in a week.

“I would like to play,” the Kings center said as he answered questions about his status in an ostensibly stern mood.  “That’s not my decision.”

Despite being reinstated Monday following a team-handed suspension, Cousins didn’t travel with the Kings when they played the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday evening.  Leaving the 22-year-old center in Sacramento was Smart’s decision.

Cousins found out he wasn’t making the trip to the Pacific Northwest on Christmas Eve.  He received a phone call from his head coach, who gave him the news and instructed him to keep working out with one of their player development coaches that stayed in town.

“Didn’t have any issues,” Smart said of how Cousins handled the last few days.  “He came in and did his work.  Came in early this morning and worked.  So, he did what he was supposed to be doing.”

Cousins, Smart and the Kings have ended up where they are today after the third-year big man reportedly went on a profanity-laced tirade against the head coach during halftime of Sacramento’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.  Cousins was subsequently suspended the following day.

Where they go from here is anyone’s guess, including Cousins.

“I don’t expect anything,” he said of his expectations regarding his playing time against the Knicks. “If it happens, it happens.  If it doesn’t it doesn’t.”

Evans targets Sunday return against Celtics

Due to nagging soreness in his left knee that’s plagued him for the last month, Tyreke Evans has been in and out of the Kings’ lineup.  However, the 23-year-old guard hopes to be back on the court in just a few days.

Evans told reporters Thursday that he plans on sitting one more game.  He anticipates returning to the Kings’ rotation Sunday when the team hosts the Boston Celtics.

Tyreke Evans releases the jumper against the Atlanta Hawks (Photo: Steven Chea)

“I feel much better,” Evans said after practice.  “I had a good workout today.  Ran on the treadmill, so probably try to give it a go on Sunday.”

Evans has missed 10 contests this season since banging knees with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko on Nov. 27.  He first returned to the Kings lineup against the Toronto Raptors, but then missed the next game against Orlando.  Beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks, he then made a brief three-game comeback that was cut short during the Kings’ blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets.

“I thought it was going to be good,” Evans said of how he initially felt following the collision with Kirilenko.  “But after the game, it kinda felt it like it didn’t…so, I knew something wasn’t right.  I just want to be almost 100 percent when I come back.”

Initial tests by the Kings training staff came back negative.  Then an MRI he underwent almost three weeks ago returned with the same results.  But if the knee continues to be a problem, he plans on seeking a second opinion sometime next week.

“When I play on it, it tends to swell up,” said Evans.  “So I just want to make sure when I play, it doesn’t swell up and I don’t have to sit out again.  If I do, I have to see a doctor on the 3rd or the 2nd (of next year.”