Collison likely out for remainder of season

Sacramento_Kings_Darren_Collison

Cowbell Kingdom has learned this morning that Sacramento Kings starting point guard Darren Collison is likely out for the remainder of the season. Originally diagnosed with a strained right hip flexor, Collison will visit Dr. William Myers in Philadelphia on Monday and likely undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a “core muscle injury.”  He will be re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks.

Collison, 27, went down in the second quarter of the Kings’ 101-78 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on February 5.  At the time of his injury he was averaging 16.1 points, 5.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 34.8 minutes per contest.

New Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl spoke on the potential of not having Collison for an extended period of time before last night’s 102-90 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

“I think Ray’s (McCallum) played well,” Karl said about his point guard tandem.  “I think right now probably my desire is to split them, probably 24-24 is kind of in mind what it’s going to end up.  Probably defensively, Ray would be in the game when it counts and Andre (Miller) would be in the game probably offensively.  At the end of the game, probably Andre has more experience, but Ray’s got to learn how to play there too.”

McCallum found himself in a similar situation last season with Sacramento when then starting point guard Isaiah Thomas went down with a deep thigh bruise.  McCallum, a 2013 2nd round pick, stepped into the starting role and played major minutes down the stretch.  In the last seven games without Collison, McCallum is averaging 8.7 points and 3.3 assists per contest.  He will likely remain the starter for the foreseeable future.

Miller was acquired at the trade deadline from the Washington Wizards for guard Ramon Sessions.  The 38-year-old guard has played well in his three games in Sacramento, averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game in limited minutes.  His veteran leadership has had a calming effect on a second unit that has struggled all season long.

Collison will be missed.  His leadership and playmaking skills have been a bright spot in an up-and-down season for the Kings.  Maybe more importantly, he is missing an opportunity to learn Karl’s system heading into the summer and beyond.

“I think he was looking forward to how we were going to play,” Karl said. “His speed is kind of the type of point guard I like.  I like the game to happen before the defense sets.”

Karl will have to adjust his game plan.  McCallum will get another golden opportunity to prove he is an NBA regular and Miller will get a shot to play substantial minutes and prove he still has enough in the tank to play past his 39th birthday next month.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".