|Kings guard Mike Bibby makes season debut against Toronto Raptors; Ron Artest back in lineup|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 16 January 2008 15:09|
Bibby had surgery in November to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, causing him to miss Sacramento's first 36 games.
Forward Ron Artest also came off the bench for the Kings. Artest, who is averaging 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this season, has missed the past nine games after surgery on his right elbow.
Bibby averaged 17.1 points and 4.7 assists last season.
Neither Bibby nor Artest spoke to the media before the game.
With his team finally healthy, coach Reggie Theus said the Kings (15-21) are ready to make a move in the standings.
``This is the first time in the entire season we've had our full complement of players,'' Theus said. ``This team is hungry. This team sees the potential we have and understands that we're very close to being right there in the playoffs. That's our goal, ultimately.''
Winners of four of their past five, the Kings welcomed guard Kevin Martin back from a 17-game absence last week. Martin, who had been sidelined by a sore groin, has scored 64 points off the bench in two games since returning.
``To think about how well we've played under the circumstances, and how hard we've played, now we add more talent to that mix,'' Theus said. ``We've lost games because we just didn't have enough guns. We've lost games because we ran out of gas.''
Injuries have been a problem for the Kings all season. Besides Artest, Bibby and Martin, forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim was limited to just six games before undergoing season-ending knee surgery in December.
With Bibby and Artest back, Dahntay Jones was placed on the inactive list for Wednesday's game. Theus said Justin Williams and Kenny Thomas will also rotate off the active roster, depending on the opponent.
``I look at tonight as a potential game where we might need an extra big man,'' Theus said. ``I'm going to keep our two big guys and make sure we have them if we have to give up a couple of extra fouls.''