After missing the last 11 games with a sore left knee, Tyreke Evans finally returned to the Sacramento Kings’ lineup yesterday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, Evans stepped on the court to a rousing round of applause by the 11,531 fans in attendance. In 12 minutes of action, the fourth-year man out of Memphis scored just five points on one made field goal and tallied one rebound, one assist and one block off the Kings’ bench. Up until yesterday’s blowout defeat, the Kings shooting guard had played in just 18 games – roughly half of his team’s schedule this season.
A few notes and observations on Evans’ comeback to the floor:
- Evans wasn’t overly aggressive in his return. He attempted just three shots, with his one make being a layup off of backdoor movement. Also on several occasions, he opted to make the extra pass rather than turn to his dribble. Evans recorded just one assist, but there were a couple passes he didn’t credit for because they either were hockey assists or teammates were fouled during shot attempts.
- Keith Smart believes that conditioning will present the biggest challenge for Evans in his comeback. “You don’t have rest. You have a couple days of practice. We’ll have the next couple days to get him into a much better rhythm, and then you got a game and then games will keep coming.”
- Evans on how many minutes per game he feels he can play from here on out: “I mean, I feel like I can go whenever. However many minutes I need to go. I wasn’t tired at all.”
- Overall, Evans said that the knee responded well. He felt no pain before, during and after yesterday’s blowout loss to the Grizzlies.
Watch Evans, Smart’s and Isaiah Thomas‘ comments on the Kings swingman’s return to the lineup in the video below.