Kings

Kings' De'Aaron Fox battles through nagging injuries in win vs. Warriors

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USATSI

Kings' De'Aaron Fox battles through nagging injuries in win vs. Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO -- No team needed the All-Star break more than Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox. An early-season ankle injury was getting heavy. Bumps and bruises were adding up and the time away was an opportunity to both heal up and mentally reset.

That worked for all of one game. 

Fox woke up on Friday morning with a sore left shoulder. He’s had it taped up the last two games, but he’s playing through the issue.

In the team’s 112-94 win over the Warriors on Tuesday, Fox disappeared to the locker room due to tightness in his right groin. He returned to the game and looked no worse for wear.

Fox is fighting through the pain because his team needs him on the court if they have any hope of continuing what has become a hot streak. 

“It’s motivating,” veteran wing Kent Bazemore said of Fox playing through pain. “You can see him wincing out there, but he’s pushing through. It means a lot that he’s bought in. We have his back and he is still demanding a lot of attention, dominating the game.”

Against the Warriors, Fox stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 21 points, five assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block in 32 minutes of play. He shot just 4-of-9 from the free-throw stripe, but that has nothing to do with the nagging issues he’s currently struggling with.

“I don’t know,” Fox said when asked about shooting freebies. “I think we just gotta get there and get better. I don’t really know what else to say about it.”

Is there concern that the injuries will take Fox off the court or decrease his effectiveness? Absolutely, but in the NBA, injuries always are part of the game.

“They tell me he’s good to go, I asked him at halftime and he said, ‘play me’,” Luke Walton said. “Between our medical staff and talking to him, I feel confident. He came out and made some big-time in that second half and seemed to be alright.”

The team will be cautious with the 22-year-old budding star, but they also are going to forge ahead. 

[RELATED: Bazemore is ingredient Kings missed during early struggles]

“We’ll go about it smartly and we’ll give him off days where he needs it and rehab and treatment and all that,” Walton added.

Fox is averaging 19.9 points and 6.9 assists for the Kings this season. He’s taking another leap forward in his production and growth, but Sacramento needs him at full strength if they are going to continue to stay in the hunt for the postseason. 

Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes lose early in NBA 2K Players Tournament

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Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes lose early in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Kevin Durant and Harrison Barnes are skilled on the court, but they need some work with the sticks.

Both NBA stars were knocked out in the first round of the NBA 2K Players Tournament on Friday.

Durant, the No. 1 overall seed in the 16-player tournament, was knocked out by Miami Heat high-riser Derrick Jones Jr. in the first matchup of the night.

Playing as the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant lost 78-62 to Jones, who was controlling the Milwaukee Bucks.

Durant did have a couple of noteworthy moments, though.

As for Barnes, he served as the No. 15 seed and took on No. 2 seed Trae Young. This matchup was never really close.

Barnes played as the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors, while Young controlled the Bucks.

The Hawks star went on to win 101-59. After falling behind 10-0 early, Barnes cut the deficit to 13-11. But Young went on a 12-0 run, turning the game into a blowout.

During the game, both players were connected via headsets and exchanged banter while also asking each other questions.

While Young left Atlanta and went to his hometown of Norman, Okla., Barnes revealed that he decided to remain in Sacramento during the global coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm optimistic, man, that we're going to get in a few more games, so I'm staying close," Barnes said.

Young is close friends with Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox, and he asked Barnes what it's like playing with the former No. 5 overall pick.

"He's the best. Great dude, great point guard," Barnes said. "Unfortunately he got hurt early on, so it put us in a tough situation. If he had been healthy all year, I think we would have had a better year than we had."

[RELATED: Former Kings arena converted to hospital]

With the NBA on hiatus due to the pandemic, Durant and Barnes will have plenty of time at home to work on their 2K skills.

Former Kings arena to be converted into coronavirus surge hospital

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Former Kings arena to be converted into coronavirus surge hospital

It’s official. The building formerly known as Arco Arena, Sleep Train Arena and Power Balance Pavilion is going to become a surge hospital during the current outbreak of the coronavirus.

“California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services announced plans for the California Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to convert the Natomas arena and practice facility into a surge field hospital to provide critical medical services for coronavirus and trauma care patients,” the team’s press release said on Friday.

Army Corps of Engineer Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite mentioned the possibility of converting Sleep Train into a 360-bed hospital earlier in the week. It now appears that the plan will go into full effect. 

"These days, our state’s soaring spirit is on full display – with Californians from every walk of life standing together, even while staying at home,” Governor Newsom said. “The State of California is working with the Kings to repurpose the team's former home to help treat COVID-19 patients and meet the coming surge in demand for hospital space. This facility, which for decades brought joy to the lives of Californians, will now be in the business of saving lives. I applaud the Kings and all the federal, state and local officials who worked in concert to make it happen.”

In addition to working with the state and federal government on the use of the Natomas property, the Kings also pledged $250,000 to support local community organizations taxed by the current pandemic, as well as 100,000 medical masks to state and city health agencies.

“On behalf of the entire Kings family, our hearts are with all who have been affected by this pandemic,” Sacramento Kings Chairman, CEO and Owner Vivek Ranadivé said via the press release. “California always leads the nation and the world, and we applaud Governor Newsom’s strong and decisive leadership to keep Californians healthy and safe during this crisis. His deft guidance and preparation serve as a shining example for leaders across America. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the medical professionals and frontline workers risking their lives every day and making tremendous sacrifices to protect us and provide essential services. Our deepest thanks go out to all of the local public health experts and elected officials, including Mayor Steinberg and Councilmember Ashby, working to safeguard the community during this unprecedented time.
 
“Our community has always come first, and that is more important now than ever,” Ranadivé added. “The Kings are proud to help by providing additional space to accommodate a predicted surge in patients. We are also donating masks to help keep people healthy, and critical resources to area organizations that are addressing food insecurity and other issues as a result of the coronavirus. I have always been in awe of the resilience and ingenuity of the American people and firmly believe that together, we will defeat this invisible enemy.”

[RELATED: How to watch Barnes in NBA 2K tourney]

The Arco property has gone mostly unused since the team moved to Golden 1 Center before the 2015-16 season. The practice facility currently is used by the team's G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, but like the NBA, the G League is on hiatus due to COVID-19. 

All of this is part of the Kings’ “In this together” initiative.

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