Kings rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein will miss about four to six weeks because of an open dislocation of his right index finger he suffered late in Thursday’s loss to the Celtics, the team announced. This year’s sixth overall pick has started 14 of Sacramento’s 20 games so far and averaged 4.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 18.9 minutes per contest.
The injury seems unlikely to spur a move, since Sacramento is well-stocked at the center position with DeMarcus Cousins and offseason signee Kosta Koufos, though the tumult that has long surrounded the Kings organization makes it difficult to predict what the team will do. Minor ailments and a suspension have cost Cousins eight games this season, but he returned to action this week. The Kings have a degree of flexibility if they do decide to offset the temporary loss of Cauley-Stein, since Eric Moreland‘s salary is only partially guaranteed for $200K.
Sacramento has 15 players on its roster, and since Cauley-Stein’s injury is the only one expected to cause a lengthy absence for the Kings, the team doesn’t qualify for a hardship provision of a 16th man. So, Moreland or another Kings player would have to go if the team wants to sign a new center. A disabled player exception isn’t in play either, since Cauley-Stein’s injury isn’t expected to be season-ending, so the Kings are limited to spending no more than the $2.814MM room exception.