Carl Landry ready to power forward with Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings power forward Carl Landry at 2014 media day. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)Carl Landry is entering his eighth season in the NBA. His seventh year in the league is one he’d like to forget.

Never before had the 31-year-old veteran experienced a season more frustrating than last year. Eighteen games were all his body would allow him to play during the Sacramento Kings’ 2013-14 campaign. A pair of crippling injuries to his hip and right knee derailed his first season back in the capital city after signing a lucrative $27-million deal in the summer of 2013.

“I haven’t been hurt at all since college,” Landry told Cowbell Kingdom at the team’s annual media day festivities on Friday. “In seven years, (I was) injury free. But like my grandma and my mom said, when it rains, it pours and I think last year, it was just one of those seasons where I suffered two severe injuries in one year.”

When it came to recovery from last season’s injuries, the 31-year-old veteran got back to the basics. He spent part of his offseason rehabbing at the St. Vincent Sports Performance Facility in Indianapolis, focusing on minimizing the swelling in his knee and making sure his hip returned to form. With the exception of weekends, he practiced twice a day during the summer to “prepare my mind and body” for the upcoming season, but patience was key in his recovery.

“Nothing’s done overnight,” Landry said. “Rome wasn’t built overnight. God didn’t create the heavens and earth overnight so obviously, it was a process. And you know, I did what it took and now I’m standing here to today able to say I’m close to 100 percent.”

Landry is upbeat about where his health is today versus where it was yesterday. However, the true test for his body is currently ongoing. The live NBA competition Landry is facing in training camp is the ultimate indicator of the veteran power forward’s health this new year.

So far, so good.  Following the first three practices this weekend, the 31-year-old big man felt no lingering soreness in his hip or right knee.  Re-energized is probably the best way to characterize Landry after his first day-and-half back against NBA competition.

“No matter how hard I tried in workouts or whatever I did this summer, you can’t simulate training camp,” Landry said on media day. “Nobody on this team – I don’t care what kind of workout they did – you can’t simulate training camp.

“You can’t simulate a real NBA game in no basketball park or no basketball gym in America,” Landry added. “You can give a percentage on something, but you really won’t know until you’re in the trenches.”

Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone likes what he’s seen so far out of Landry. Malone has coached the veteran forward in three different stops including Sacramento and is well aware of what the 31-year-old big man can bring to the table. Malone plans on calling Landry’s number on offense in the low post as early and often as he can.

“I think that is so important,” Malone said of having a legitimate low-post scoring threat like Landry at his disposal. “It’s a jump shooting league, but you have to be able to have a go-to-guy and a go-to-player and Carl’s going to score, get fouled and create a shot for a teammate. And he’s also a very good rebounder.”

Besides what Landry brings to the floor on a nightly basis, Malone is eager to have the veteran power forward’s presence back on the practice court. Landry is one of the league’s good guys and having his enthusiastic demeanor back in the mix can have only a positive influence on the Sacramento Kings’ locker room.

“The other thing, more selfishly for me is that third time being with him, he knows what I’m looking for,” Malone said of Landry. “He brings great energy to practice. He’s a positive veteran example and he has a great voice in practice and communication is something that we really try to instill with our guys. And we’re a young team, so Carl’s example and leadership and voice is much needed.”

After a season lost to injury, Landry is anxious to prove he still has something to offer the Sacramento Kings. Whether it’s being a vocal presence in the huddle or an additional scoring punch next to DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, he’s encouraged about what lies ahead for him this upcoming season.

“By the grace of God, I’ve just been given another opportunity to showcase my talent again this year,” Landry said optimistically. “And hopefully I maximize on that.”

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.