Walk in the wrong room at the wrong time, a face-to-face conversation with the wrong person, touching the wrong door handle and not immediately sanitizing your hands -- the coronavirus is all around us, all the time.
The Kings once again were reminded of that fact earlier this week when the team reportedly had a “false positive” amongst the players. It’s a reality the team has lived with for a while, just like everyone else in the world.
During the latest episode of the Purple Talk podcast, point guard De’Aaron Fox gave an inside look into what the team has gone through as they’ve worked to get back out on the court.
Four players on the Kings tested positive for the virus that has the world at a standstill. Of those to get the call, Harrison Barnes and his wife Brittany may have been the most shocking for his teammates.
“I talked to him about the moment he kind of realized that he had it and he couldn’t smell something -- he had lost his sense of smell and taste too,” Fox said. “It’s actually crazy because Harrison and Brittany, his wife, are by far the most cautious people I know and the fact that they got it was actually astonishing, like it’s crazy that they were the ones who actually had it.”
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Barnes, whose symptoms were mild, struggled to string together two straight days of negative tests. His mother had mild symptoms as well, but Brittany struggled with the virus and had severe symptoms.
Buddy Hield played in a crowded gym in Oklahoma in early July, but there is no guarantee that he contracted coronavirus there. In fact, according to Fox, DaQuan Jeffries played in the same tournament and didn’t have an issue.
“People have been doing the same things and somebody will have it and somebody won’t have it,” Fox said. “I still don’t understand the virus.”
Adding to the confusion, the four Kings who struggled with the illness each had completely different experiences with it.
“People are going to react to everything differently,” Fox said. “Buddy had it and never felt like he had it. He was probably contagious, but he had the quarantine even though he felt fine, he felt totally fine.”
Hield cruised right through protocol and he was back on the court and playing with his teammates early in training camp. Alex Len on the other hand had symptoms and he’ll miss the opener while trying to get back in game shape.
“While Alex is actually feeling the virus, Harrison and Jabari lost their sense of taste and smell for the time, they actually beat it a lot quicker and their bodies were able to recover a lot faster, while Alex is taking a longer time,” Fox said. “It just shows you, that’s four people who are between 25 and 28, who are all healthy, who are all athletic, and all responded differently.”
The virus only is part of the issue the Kings are dealing with. An injury to Fox cost him a week of action and Marvin Bagley left the campus after spraining his right foot. The Kings have had to piece the rotation together and try to build chemistry on the fly.
“We’re trying to gel together as quickly as possible, having most of the guys back now, but at the end of the day, you can only control what you can control and that’s how you play when you’re in the game,” Fox said.
Sacramento isn’t the only team to have issues during the restart, but between the virus and injuries, they have had more struggles than most. These issues very well could impact their chances during the eight-game restart, but Fox isn’t going to use any of that as an excuse.
“It’s not going to get any easier,” Fox said. “It’s just about everybody being the best version of themselves. If everyone is playing at a high level, I think we give ourselves a great chance to win.”
On Friday morning, Fox said that he felt like he had his game legs back, which is a good sign for the Kings. Regardless of injuries and illness, it’s a race to the finish line and Fox might be the most important piece on the floor for the Kings.