The first time it was his head, the second was his head coach.
Brandon Rush's comeback from a knee injury that ended his season almost as soon as it got going last year has been complicated. After making his return against the Brooklyn Nets in early November, Rush put himself back on the bench for nearly a month because he said he was not mentally ready to play.
He played again in games last week against Indiana and Portland but soon found himself out Utah coach Ty Corbin's rotation.
"It's been really frustrating because I've worked hard," Rush said. "I wanted to be able to get some minutes and help the team out."
Rush and Corbin met Wednesday morning before the team's game in Sacramento to talk about Rush's frustrations.
"I had a good talk with Coach," the shooting guard said. "He let me know what the deal was."
Corbin's message: "I just wanted him to play, play relaxed and play without apprehension."
Rush saw time again against the Kings and rewarded his coach by knocking down three of his four attempts from three, grabbing two rebounds, dishing two assists and coming up with a pair of blocks.
"I felt good out there," Rush said. "I just needed to find that groove."
"He looked good," the coach said. "He just played, man. That's what we were looking for because he can help us. He can make shots. He can defend; he's long. But we can't have him be apprehensive about it, when to go or not go, because it throws the rhythm of all the other guys off."
How'd he do that?
Richard Jefferson scored a team-high 20 points Wednesday against the Kings and impressed some of his teammates in the process.
"I don't know how he makes that one-handed double pump off the glass," Marvin Williams said. "I don't think I could make that if you locked me in the gym tonight."
Good to go
Williams (sore heel) and Derrick Favors (sore back) both made their first appearance Wednesday after multiple games off. Neither experienced setbacks and both should be able to play Friday against Denver.