Kevin Huerter

Kings' Huerter explains why he had season-ending shoulder surgery

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Kevin Huerter won't be on the floor as the Kings enter the NBA Play-In Tournament with their eye on an NBA playoff spot, much to the guard's dismay, after he had shoulder surgery last week to repair a torn left labrum.

Huerter told FOX 40's Sean Cunningham before Thursday night's home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans why he opted to have surgery rather than explore other treatment routes, explaining that the shoulder issue had plagued him for quite some time.

"Timing obviously sucks," Huerter told Cunningham. "No other way to put it, but successful operation. It's something I felt like we needed to do for my long-term health and me not having issues with it moving forward. ...

"It's an issue that I've had for a couple of years now. You know, nothing that was significant enough for me to have to fix it and get surgery on something that I've played with and felt like I could get back to 100 percent and haven't had issues with in a couple of years, and, this one most recent -- I would call it 'episode' -- injury became more significant.

"And so then the decision became playing through the injury, obviously, or completely fixing it with surgery. And where it was currently at, it could be 100 percent fixed with surgery. ... So then it became, if I'm just waiting for the next time I get hurt, then there could be damage that I can't fix with surgery, and then you're never the same."

Huerter sustained the season-ending injury during the Kings' March 18 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center, when he went up for a layup and Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane appeared to inadvertently pull down his left arm.

Had Huerter continued to play through the injury, he told Cunningham, doctors told him they were "fairly certain" his shoulder eventually would pop out again. Now, with surgery behind him, he's focused on returning to full health as the Kings prepare to finish out the regular season.

While Huerter knows his choice was the right one, it wasn't easy.

"Yeah, that's the part that sucks," Huerter said of missing the Kings' postseason push. "That's why we took a little bit with the decision, trying to find an avenue to be able to play and be able to contribute to this team this year and try to find somebody that would say that that's an option. ...

"You play all year, you practice all year to play in the playoffs, and get back, especially with this team, how we ended last year. We're looking forward to getting back into the playoffs and playing, and you don't play this game for the regular season."

The Kings' playoff aspirations would be easier with Huerter along for the ride. But no matter what happens next, the sharpshooter will be ready to go next season.

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