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Originally published October 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 26, 2006 at 12:24 AM

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Swift injured in Sonics' victory over Kings

One day after declaring his starting center for opening day, Sonics coach Bob Hill may have to reevaluate the position. Less than two minutes...

Seattle Times staff reporter


One day after declaring his starting center for opening day, Sonics coach Bob Hill may have to re-evaluate the position.

Less than two minutes into the opening quarter against Sacramento on Wednesday, Robert Swift crumpled to the court with a right knee sprain. He will have an MRI on the knee today.

The Sonics absorbed the loss of Swift, however, and beat the Kings 103-88 in an exhibition game before 11,887 at KeyArena. Seattle will depart this morning for Spokane to play a "home" exhibition game against Golden State at the Spokane Arena.

Swift will not make the trip to Spokane, and guard Earl Watson most likely will also remain in Seattle after his right front tooth was dislodged again. Watson was knocked in the mouth while being called for a foul in the fourth quarter. He swallowed the tooth, which got stuck in his throat, sending him to the hospital for treatment.

"It was tough," Hill said of Watson's injury.

Watson also had the tooth knocked out during practice on Oct. 10, but played the following day.

"[With Robert,] we'll have to wait and see what it is, but obviously it's going to be a setback for a while," Hill said. "That's part of sports. It's sad. But he's going to have to get it rehabbed and get back on the court as fast as he can, whatever it is. I was awful proud of him."

Swift has been impressive since Hill chided the young center during halftime of the team's road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 21. Swift has been rebounding and moving well around the hoop, prompting Hill to move Swift into the starting rotation to replace Johan Petro. But Hill is still going to play the position by committee, utilizing rookie Mouhamed Sene and forwards Nick Collison and Danny Fortson inside.

Against the Kings, Swift opened with a rebound and was attempting to save a loose ball when his torso went the opposite way of his legs. He left the arena on crutches but said he wasn't in any pain, only that the knee felt "loose."

"It's a freak thing," said Swift, who added that the knee wasn't swollen. "I'll just have to work through it and hope everything works out."

Even with Swift, the starting unit had troubles against Sacramento, trailing the Kings by as many as nine points in the first quarter. Reserve guard Damien Wilkins helped spark a comeback for the Sonics when he entered the game shortly before halftime. Wilkins scored seven quick points to build a 31-28 lead, which the Sonics pushed to 53-43 by halftime.

The second unit played tighter defense, holding the Kings to 5-for-16 shooting from the field in the second quarter, which opened up the transition game and allowed Watson to run a faster offense. The Sonics outscored the Kings 31-15 in the quarter, and Watson capped the burst with a layup at the buzzer.


Wilkins led first-half scoring with 12 points on 3-for-4 shooting, and Watson added 10. Starter Rashard Lewis, who played solid defense on Sacramento's Ron Artest, scored 16 points, leading seven Sonics who finished in double figures.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or

SACRAMENTO — Abdur-Rahim 3-5 6-7 12, Artest 6-18 2-3 14, Thomas 0-5 2-4 2, Martin 8-14 5-5 22, Price 6-7 0-0 15, Hart 0-6 0-0 0, Salmons 1-2 2-3 4, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Douby 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor 0-2 0-0 0, Garcia 3-5 2-2 9, Amundson 0-0 0-2 0, Williamson 4-6 2-2 10. Totals 31-72 21-28 88.

SEATTLE — Ras.Lewis 5-13 4-4 16, Wilcox 4-7 2-5 10, Swift 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 4-8 2-3 11, Ridnour 6-8 2-4 15, Petro 2-4 2-2 6, Sene 1-1 0-0 2, Fortson 0-1 2-2 2, Watson 5-7 1-1 12, Gelabale 0-2 0-0 0, Wilkins 3-5 7-7 14, Collison 5-7 5-6 15, Wilks 0-1 0-0 0, Farmer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 35-65 27-34 103.

Sacramento 28 15 16 29 — 88
Seattle 22 31 25 25 — 103
Three-point goals — Sacramento 5-15 (Price 3-3, Martin 1-2, Garcia 1-3, Abdur-Rahim 0-1, Hart 0-1, Douby 0-1, Artest 0-4), Seattle 6-14 (Ras.Lewis 2-5, Watson 1-1, Wilkins 1-1, Ridnour 1-2, Allen 1-4, Farmer 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Sacramento 41 (Abdur-Rahim 7), Seattle 44 (Collison 6). Assists — Sacramento 14 (Artest, Hart 5), Seattle 22 (Ridnour 8). Total fouls — Sacramento 28, Seattle 24. Flagrant fouls — Fortson. A — 11,887 (17,072).

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