The mystery is over.
Without consent, the Kings, like every other NBA team, cannot confirm a positive coronavirus test amongst their players due to federal HIPAA regulations. That has led to some interesting moments this season and a lot of confusion.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox finally confirmed that he not only tested positive for the coronavirus, but both he and his fianceé, Recee Caldwell were hit hard by the illness over the last few weeks.
According to Beck, Fox said that the virus “hit me like a truck,” and came with “headaches, body aches, chills and dehydration.”
Both Fox and Caldwell are feeling better now. Out of action since April 21, Fox now has cleared the first step of NBA’s health and safety protocols, which allows him to be back on the bench with his teammates, although he hasn’t been cleared to return to game action.
With only four games remaining in the season and Fox being out of action nearly three weeks, it’s very possible we have seen the last of the Kings’ star point guard this season, especially with Sacramento on the brink of elimination from the play-in tournament. Although coach Luke Walton said the Kings are going to continue to push until the team is completely out of contention.
“For now, we’re going to continue to play this thing out,” Walton said. “Like I’ve said this whole time, it’s important to me that we continue to hit home on these behaviors and habits and playing a certain way and building momentum into the offseason.”
If Fox could return to the court to finish off the last four games, it would be a tremendous boost to the Kings. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game on the season. He’s taken a huge leap into star status and the Kings have missed his presence on the floor.
The question will be whether or not it’s worth it to risk putting Fox out on the court, but if he’s healthy and ready to play, this type of experience is incredibly valuable. While the Kings’ chances are slim, they aren’t zero.
In a perfect scenario, the Kings would get some help in the chase for the play-in game on Monday night when the San Antonio Spurs, who the Kings trail by 2.5 games in the standings, face the Milwaukee Bucks.
The New Orleans Pelicans, who the Kings currently sit a game behind in the standings, also play on Monday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. By Tuesday morning, there is potential for the standings to compress even further as the teams sprint to the finish line.
If Sacramento could get Fox out on the court, even in limited action against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, he might be able to shake some of the rust off going into a back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday and Friday.
Fox has played the Grizzlies tough throughout his career, especially over the last two seasons when matched up against Ja Morant. If he’s healthy enough to play, he could be a difference maker in those two contests.
In a season filled with ups and downs, the Kings have an opportunity to play this out and put their own stamp on the season. They’ve dug themselves a hole and it’s likely they fall short of their ultimate goal of reaching the postseason, but can build positive momentum heading into the offseason.
Getting Fox back out on the court has its risks, but this would be the first time in his career that he plays meaningful games in the final week of the season. That experience could be worth plenty down the road.