SACRAMENTO -- Beno Udrih and Spencer Hawes want to switch positions.
Not the point guard and center spots, but their respective spots regarding the injuries that are holding them back and the viewpoint of the Kings coaching and training staffs that will largely determine when they return.
The point guard signed recently to help with the long-term absence of Mike Bibby wants a bit more time before he tries out the left index finger he broke in October. He said he's eyeing Saturday's home game against Minnesota at the earliest but more likely Monday's game at Utah. Kings coach Reggie Theus, however, would love to see him hit the floor tonight against Cleveland.
"I think he's ready," Theus said. "I think he wants to come in and have his best opportunity to play the best that he can play right now. But he's going to have to understand that we might need him today, and waiting until that perfect moment might not be an option. He might have to grind it out for a couple of days."
Udrih said his finger feels fine, and he might begin wearing a protective brace to avoid reinjury.
Hawes would jump at the chance to play tonight. Jumping, in fact, is all he's been doing lately, doing his best impression of a pogo stick nearly every time he walks by Theus to show his coach just how healthy he is after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
He practiced in live action for the first time Thursday, running well and providing a few highlights. The surprising play was on defense, where Hawes went high to swat a Darryl Watkins shot attempt. Hawes showed his scoring prowess, too, including a fading baseline jumper over the outstretched hand of Watkins and even a mid-range hook shot that fell through.
"I felt pretty good out there today, but it's not my decision so I'll leave it up to them," Hawes said. "I realize it's a long season. And having gone through (recovery from knee surgery) before, I've just got to be mature about it and be patient."
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