Tsakalidis hopes to return to action Thursday vs. Kings` - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Tsakalidis hopes to return to action Thursday vs. Kings`

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Posted: Monday, March 10, 2003 11:58 pm | Updated: 1:14 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Suns center Jake Tsakalidis, out for more than two months after undergoing back surgery, "probably" will return to action Thursday, coach Frank Johnson said.

That would mean all the Suns' regulars would be available for the first time since the 10th game of the season.

The 7-foot-2 Tsakalidis made the trip for tonight's game at Golden State, but is not expected to play. The more likely date for his return — he's missed the last 33 games — is the Suns' home game vs. Sacramento on Thursday.

"I hope so," Tsakalidis said. "I'll see after practice on Wednesday."

Tsakalidis has played in only 23 of the Suns' 62 games this season; 38 of the 39 misses have been because of injuries.

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Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo indicated on KTAR (620 AM) radio Monday that he would like to thaw out his frosty relationship with Charles Barkley.

The issue arose Sunday night when Barkley was spotted in the building at Dan Majerle’s Ring of Honor installment. Barkley did not participate in the ceremony.

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The Warriors (30-33) figure to be in a nasty mood for tonight's game.

They're coming off a loss at Detroit on Sunday in which they were beaten by a 3-pointer at the buzzer by the Pistons' Chauncy Billups. In the game before that, they blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter at Milwaukee, and — after Gary Payton hit a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in regulation to tie it — eventually lost in overtime, 138-133.

Until their current three-game slide, they'd won six in a row to pull to 30-30. That's the latest they had been at .500 in any season since April 1994.

That's the last year they made the playoffs (they were swept by the Suns). Their current playoff drought is the longest in the NBA.

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Penny Hardaway is extremely familiar with Eric Musselman, the energetic, aggressive young coach of the Warriors.

Musselman worked for two seasons as an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic. His first year, the lockout season of 1999, was Hardaway's final season in Orlando.

"He has that drive to win," Hardaway said.

Musselman has guided the team to the biggest increase in winning percentage (up from 25 percent at this time last year to 48 percent today) of any NBA team.

Musselman, 38, got his first taste of NBA competition in 1990-91 as an assistant coach for Minnesota, on the staff of his late father, Bill. They are the first father-son duo to have served as head coaches in the NBA.

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