SACRAMENTO -- Cameras surrounded 19-year-old Marvin Bagley III on Wednesday night, as he struggled to finish getting dressed after the Kings’ overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
As the medical staff moved in and immobilized Bagley’s injured left knee with a straight brace, Kings media relations staff asked reporters to step back. When they didn’t move back quickly enough, Kings guard Buddy Hield asked more forcefully.
No one likes to see a teammate go down with an injury, but the tension in the Kings’ locker room was different. The group knows where it's at in the NBA's Western Conference standings -- two games out of the final playoff spot with 21 to play -- and how much Bagley means to the team.
“We are certainly thinking of Marvin as we go forward,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “That is definitely a cloud over our locker room.”
It all happened in a flash. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft was tracking back in transition, and veteran Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon moved in to set a pick, burying the 6-foot-11 power forward from the back.
Marvin Bagley goes down after a hard screen in the 3rd quarter. pic.twitter.com/GCZ8edDhOP— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) February 28, 2019
Initially, it appeared Bagley had injured his right knee, but the replay showed a potential larger issue. The left knee, which the former Duke star injured earlier in the season, stuck to the floor and twisted awkwardly.
“He’ll be fine,” fellow rookie Harry Giles said. "God’s got him. He’s just gotta relax and let his body do what it’s supposed to do, and he’ll be fine."
Giles kneeled by Bagley and kept his teammate calm as the medical staff rushed onto the floor. After a few minutes, Bagley was helped to his feet by Giles and big man Kosta Koufos, who assisted him into the Kings' locker room.
“He didn’t have to say nothing to me,” Giles said. “I didn’t want him to -- it wasn’t about me. I was there for him.”
The early word is a left knee sprain, but an MRI is set for Thursday morning, and Bagley’s immediate future is unknown.
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Bagley missed 11 consecutive games during late January and early February with a sprain and bone bruise in his left knee. He bounced back quickly from the injury, and has played his best basketball as of late.
“I hate to see that, when he’s playing at his best, he goes down,” Hield said. “It’s happened to him twice when he’s turned the table.”
Bagley is posting 14 points and 7.2 rebounds in just under 25 minutes per night this season. But in nine games in February, the high flyer is averaging 18.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game. He’s become an integral part of the Kings’ rotation, and he’s showing improvement almost every time he steps on the court.
The Kings are expected to have the results of Bagley’s MRI before their 1 p.m. practice Thursday. We’ll have further follow-up on the injury as it becomes available.