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Jason Thompson is down for the count

Just days after playing yo-yo with Spencer Hawes’ minutes and benching him on a whim, Paul Westphal will now be heavily dependent on Hawes to man the middle for the Kings. The team announced that Jason Thompson, Hawes’ replacement at center and the only player taller than 6'9'’ on Sacramento’s roster that isn’t Donte Greene, will miss two weeks with a back injury.

Per Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty, a more precise diagnosis is that Thompson has “two non-displaced transverse processes fractures in his lower back.” The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons describes the injury as “uncommon and result[ing] from rotation or extreme sideways (lateral) bending” and notes that it “usually does not affect stability.”

Sacramento should use some combination of Hawes, Carl Landry, Sean May, and possibly Joey Dorsey at center, unless Westphal decides to indulge his creative side and play Omri Casspi there...or indulge his obstinant side and keep Hawes in street clothes. Westphal claims to be unsure about Hawes’ status for tomorrow’s game against the Jazz, but the notion of not playing him at this point over a petty disagreement seems ridiculous.