Training camp isn't yet over, but it seems that Sacramento's power forward logjam has been alleviated, in a way -- albeit under unfortunate circumstances.
According to a team release, newly signed forward Carl Landry sustained an injury in practice that was later diagnosed as a torn hip flexor. He will undergo surgery on Tuesday morning to address the tear, and the Kings expect Landry to miss 3-4 months of action while he recovers.
Landry was Sacramento's biggest offseason acquisition, having signed a four-year, $26 million contract with the Kings to complement centerpiece big man DeMarcus Cousins. His strengths and weaknesses aligned very much with his new team, for both better and worse; Landry's post-up scoring and mid-range shooting would have added to one of last year's most surprising offenses, though he'd do little to address Sacramento's woefully out-of-sorts defense.
All of which is no longer immediately relevant, as Sacramento will have to do without Landry through the trade deadline at the least. Starting in his place will be one of Patrick Patterson or Jason Thompson -- two smart, similarly skilled bigs who can help balance the floor and compete defensively. Neither is quite the scorer that Landry would have been, but they'll certainly do in a pinch. After all, it's not as if the Kings were in any position to contend for anything of import this season. With a change in ownership, a fresh front office, and a new head coach, Sacramento is set to undergo a massive institutional overhaul. That show goes on with or without Landry in the lineup, though obviously any effort to win games this season would be aided by having another capable, productive big in the rotation. Sacramento will be denied that until March, and possibly longer as Landry works his way back up to speed. That's a long wait for the first returns on $26 million investment, though his time on the sideline will at least allow the Kings to make some order of a jumbled rotation. Ideally, Landry's absence can serve as an extended tryout for Patterson, Thompson, and veteran forward Chuck Hayes -- all of whom would otherwise be competing for reserve minutes behind Landry. For the next 3-4 months, the power forward slot will be theirs, while Kings coach Mike Malone gauges their play, fit, and progress. His management of Sacramento's rotation should be facilitated from there on out, having both the aid of Landry's return and the months of evaluation while he was recovering.