SACRAMENTO -- What happened in Vegas will stay with the Kings for some time, that day of misfortune when Mike Bibby fell in such a routine manner during practice at UNLV and tore a ligament while trying to brace himself.
Now, his team will try and do the same.
After Bibby had surgery on his left thumb Saturday morning, the Kings must brace themselves for the reality that their point guard will be out 10 to 12 weeks. The player long considered All-Star caliber leaves his position to players full of youth and inexperience, and a first-year coach with visions of returning the franchise to the playoffs is forced to forgo the big picture for now.
Bibby, who also suffered an injury last preseason, couldn't tough it out this time. Five exhibition games into the 2006-07 campaign, Bibby suffered an injury to his right shooting wrist and thumb during a game against New Orleans in Reno and was bothered by it for months. Nonetheless, he made a surprise start in the regular-season opener and logged 82 games while his ailing hand hurt his shot significantly.
Kings coach Reggie Theus said the decision to operate rather than let Bibby's ligament heal was "a no-brainer" this time.
While there were no immediate additions of a veteran free agent to serve as a Band-Aid of sorts, Theus said "there's no doubt we've got to get somebody in here."
In terms of signing a free agent, the Kings are over the salary cap and can only offer the minimum salary. While 17-year veteran Gary Payton is available, a more likely scenario may be the addition of nine-year veteran Earl Boykins, who played for Milwaukee last season and remains unemployed.
There will be an eye on Houston as well, where former Kings coach Rick Adelman has a roster with 19 players and only a few days left to trim down to the league limit of 15. Guard John Lucas III, a third-year reserve, is expected to be waived Monday, and the Rockets have a glutton of guards that includes Luther Head, Rafer Alston, Steve Francis, Mike James and rookie Aaron Brooks.
While second-year guard Quincy Douby started in Bibby's place Friday, swingman Francisco García is capable of bringing the ball up.