Willie Cauley-Stein appears set to return against Warriors

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 6: Willie Cauley-Stein
SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 6: Willie Cauley-Stein /

Willie Cauley-Stein sat out the last two Sacramento Kings games with a bone bruise, but he is likely to return on Feb. 2 against the Warriors.

Willie Cauley-Stein was rolling in January.  The Sacramento Kings’ big man played 30.5 minutes per game that month and averaged 14.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 1.8 turnovers in each contest.  It was a fantastic month, but it was cut short in game 12 as he collided with Hassan Whiteside and suffered a bone bruise in his right knee.  The Kings held him out of the last two games with the injury, but some good news came on Thursday.  Below is a Tweet from James Ham following the Feb. 1 practice.

What the news means

Cauley-Stein practiced wearing a sleeve and apparently looked back in form.  The team obviously wants to make sure WCS is feeling healthy, and the knee does not swell up following the workout, but he appears set to play on Friday against the Golden State Warriors.  It is not a moment too soon as the Kings need his presence against the NBA’s best team.  I expect Cauley-Stein to start and play significant minutes if he is cleared to return.  Keep an eye on his status as tipoff approaches

Final thoughts

Willie Cauley-Stein practiced on Feb. 1 and looked set to return after missing two straight games.  The Kings should prioritize him as the starting center and play him 30 plus minutes on Friday.  It will also allow Sacramento to move forward with their youth movement.  The team will return to resting two veterans in each game with either Z-Bo or Kosta Koufos sitting in the February opener.  Stay tuned.

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