The Sacramento Kings may have had an under .500 record over their previous eight game road trip but that was not the biggest loss that came out on the road. With 9:29 remaining in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets, Garrett Temple exited the floor with an apparent hamstring injury.
The injury occurred after a steal and Temple immediately fell to the ground, grabbed ahold of his left hamstring and then proceeded to limp off the court directly into the locker room.
Temple was given an MRI Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento and the results were positive. Doctors concluded that Temple suffered a partial left tear of his left biceps femoris muscle (hamstring) and will most likely be sidelined for 2-3 weeks. Temple will be reevaluated after the All-Star break.
Temple has had a career year through 49 games this season, averaging a career-high 7.7 points per game and a career-high in minutes at 26.6 per game. Temple has started in 15 of the Kings’ 49 games but with this injury, it may derail his hopes of easing his way into a consistent starting role.
Following the Achilles injury to Rudy Gay, Temple has seen more playing time. Joerger has used Temple as his defensive crutch for the majority of the season assigning him to the opposing team’s most prominent scorer.
What the Kings and coach Joerger are going to miss dearly during Temple’s absence will be his basketball IQ. Coach Joerger has trusted Temple’s game, making a less worrisome coach out of himself.
Temple seems to have a knack for finding the open spots on offense while having a great feel for his teammates. Used in most crunch-time situations, it will be interesting to see how Joerger will replace Temple’s defensive abilities.
With Temple sidelined, this leaves the window of opportunity for rookie Malachi Richardson to showcase his game at a consistent pace. Richardson, who played important minutes along the Kings’ eight game trip, has proven that the spotlight doesn’t faze him.
Another Kings player to keep an eye out for is the once shooting guard starter in Ben McLemore. With the addition of Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes and Temple over the offseason, McLemore has found himself out of the rotation completely this season.
With the injury exits of Omri Casspi, Gay and Temple, the need for wing contribution is at an all time high and McLemore will be called upon.
With the exception of Richardson, all remaining wing players have had starting experience playing significant roles at one point in their careers.
The good news is that Sacramento will begin a six game home stand, followed by two away games in California (LA and Oakland) before heading into All-Star weekend.
This gives coach Joerger time to rally his troops in the comfort of their own facilities as they prepare to develop new strategies in Temple’s absence.