Kings guard Bobby Jackson told ESPN's Jim Gray on Saturday night that he will return to the roster for Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals against the Timberwolves, scheduled for next Friday in Minneapolis.
Jackson, the NBA's 2002-03 sixth man of the year, has been out since Feb. 8 with an abdominal injury. He has met with a stomach specialist in Vancouver, where he underwent new therapy for the injury.
The point guard participated in the team's Saturday afternoon shootaround. He also took a few jumpers in the pregame shootaround.
"I think it's a little bit better," Jackson said before the game. "I've definitely got to get on the basketball court and get some time out there and at least get into a little bit of basketball shape."
Jackson's comments came as an about-face to his statements in an April 19 report by the Sacremento Bee in which he said he did not expect to return this season.
"This thing is serious. I'm not sure that everybody around here believes this injury is as serious as it is," Jackson told the paper last month. "I've been hearing around here that it's two- to three-week injury.
"Everybody around here knows how much I love to play and want to play. But I'd rather miss the playoffs than miss a whole year of basketball. So that's where it's at."
The Kings have kept him on the playoff roster in hopes that he might be healthy enough to play at some point during the playoffs.
Jackson averaged 13.8 points and 3.5 rebounds. The Kings have no
backup point guard behind Mike Bibby, and shooting guard Doug Christie is hobbled with plantar fasciatis in his left foot.
Jackson went on the injured list Feb. 22 and missed 24 games
before returning to the lineup for one game April 8 against the
Wolves. But he reaggravated the soreness.
"I made the mistake because I really wanted to get out there
and play. I knew I wasn't ready to play," he said. "I tried to go
out there and play with me heart instead of my head."
Jackson missed Sacramento's final four regular-season games and
sat out the Dallas series. He was in Toronto when the Kings won
Game 1 against the Wolves.
"It's killing me," Jackson said of missing the playoffs.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.