He hasn’t played in almost two weeks. But Marcus Thornton is eager to return as soon as possible.
“I’m thinking tomorrow,” the Sacramento Kings guard said after practice to reporters of when he hopes to be cleared to play. “I’m anxious to get back out there, but you know, I’ma go (with) what the doctors say because they know best. I hope it’s tomorrow.”
Thornton hasn’t been in the Kings lineup since their 39-point loss in Memphis January 21st. The Kings guard has been suffering from a deep-left thigh bruise, an injury he first sustained January 8th against the Orlando Magic.
“Very, very frustrating,” Thornton, shaking his head, said of watching the Kings from the bench lose five-straight games in his absence. “Knowing that you can’t do nothing about it. All you can do is root for your team and uplift them.
“I hate it,” he continued. “It’s a game of injuries and you know it (happens), but I hate it.”
Thornton said he “felt good” participating in his first, full-contact practice in more than a week. He added that his thigh tightened up initially, but loosened as soon as they started scrimmaging. The Kings guard felt fine while addressing media, but again remained cautiously optimistic about his return.
“(It) depends on the doc and the medical staff and (head athletic trainer) Pete (Youngman),” said Thornton when asked if he’d be able to play big minutes tomorrow against the Portland Trailblazers. “I would like to, but it’s in their hands right now. They know what’s best for me right now.”
Like teammate Chuck Hayes, who has been sporting a brace on his left shoulder after dislocating it early last month, Thornton has been outfitted with gear of his own.
“Kind of uncomfortable,” Thornton said of the padding he wore today to protect his left thigh from contact. “But I know it’s for the best. So I’ma play with it until this thing heals up all the way.”
Kings head coach Keith Smart said Thornton looked okay in today’s practice and anticipated his starting two-guard would be rusty. However, Smart thought it was good for Thornton to be on the court reacquainting himself with the game’s speed and physicality.
“Even having just a couple years on his belt, he still has the savvy of an NBA aggressive player,” Smart said of what the Kings most without Thornton. “And you miss that on the floor…in crunch time situations because he can make (something) out of a dead play.”
Jonathan Santiago is co-editor of Cowbell Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter.