Forward-center Chuck Hayes' left shoulder responded well to Tuesday's full-contact practice -- Hayes' first since dislocating the shoulder on Jan. 5 -- but the Kings aren't planning on pushing his return, head coach Keith Smart said this morning.
"He won't go tonight," Smart said. "He woke up this morning with no pain, things like that. Now he's got to get over the approach mentally. ... It's totally in his hands and our team physicians' to see when he's ready. When he's ready and they say he's been released to me then we'll have him on the floor."
The Kings play the Denver Nuggets tonight at 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion.
Meanwhile, the Kings announced that guard Marcus Thornton has a significant hematoma in his left thigh and is expected to miss 1-to-2 weeks.
Thornton was originally diagnosed with a left thigh contusion sustained on Jan. 8, then re-aggravated the injury last Friday at San Antonio.
Thornton is the Kings' leading scorer, averaging 16.4 points per game.
* The Nuggets, who currently lead the NBA in fast-break points per game, scored 31 fast-break points in a 110-83 win over the Kings in Denver on Jan. 4.
A major factor in that total, Smart said, was that the Kings "turned the ball over above the foul line, which you can't get back and defend, and they ran out on us.
"If we focus on taking care of the basketball and getting good shots, we can get ourselves back in a set defense," Smart said. "We've got to get this team into a half-court game, and that starts with our offense and the kind of shots we take and how we take care of the basketball."
-- Matt Kawahara