Sabonis Refuses Surgery; Plays Through Thumb Fracture

Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis was diagnosed with an "avulsion fracture" in his thumb five days ago. But it's no big deal to him. He says he'll be fine to play through it. And the early results are proving him right. 31 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists on 66% FG in his first game with the taped-up thumb.

Surgery was considered over the last few days, according to Anthony Slater and Sam Amick in The Athletic. But that would have meant a 4-to-6 week recovery—about 20 games missed—and a huge hit to the Kings' playoff chances. Sabonis leads the NBA in rebounding, and has been a vital cog in their success thus far this season.

He missed just one game after the injury, then returned Wednesday night to post his 31-10-5 effort, while guarding Nikola Jokic and helping the Kings to a 127-126 victory over the West-leading Denver Nuggets.  

A lot of (team) expectations. Everyone has put a lot of work in. Missing a large number of games just didn’t seem right. If I could play through it, that’s something I could try at least.

                                                                                                  —Domantas Sabonis 

"I don't like being on the bench, especially in street clothes," Sabonis added after the big win. 

The big man is averaging 18.3 points, 12.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and the Kings have an elite 118.9 offensive rating with him on the floor, but a disastrous 104.9 when he's on the bench. So... yeah. He's playing. 

Sacramento is now 18-15 and tied for 6th in the Western Conference. They're attempting to break a 16-year playoff drought, currently the longest in North American sports. 

Photo: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports