Various Kings players have missed over 100 games with injuries this season, and there are still 28 games remaining.
Richaun Holmes is one of those players who is currently spending All-Star weekend in Chicago, his hometown and the center of the NBA world the next few days.
During Friday's Habershow, Holmes updated his condition to NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh.
“I feel pretty good, I feel pretty good,” Holmes said. “I’m definitely ready to get back out there. I haven’t missed this many games since I don’t know when. I want to play so bad, I want to play so bad. It looks fun out there”
Holmes has missed 17 straight contests with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He attempted to return to the court last week but had a setback after one practice.
The big man underwent PRP treatment on his ailing shoulder earlier in the week and will be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks. Surgery has not been ruled out, but Holmes continues to put in the work in hopes of avoiding it.
Since Holmes last played, the Kings are showing signs of life. They are 6-4 over their last 10 games heading into the break and point guard De'Aaron Fox is leading the way.
“His pace is amazing, it’s like a match made in heaven,” Holmes said of Fox. “He’s able to throw the lob, he breaks down the defense so well, like getting to the teeth and they have to collapse on him and then I’m right there at the rim.”
The two haven’t had much time on the floor together. Holmes took over the starting center job from Dewayne Dedmon after four games, but five games later, Fox rolled his ankle in practice and missed a total of 18 games.
Holmes and Fox have only started 13 games together, but Fox’s speed and Homes’ ability to finish in the lane is an intriguing two-man game if both players are healthy at the same time. The 26-year-old looks like a perfect fit in the Kings' lineup, especially when surrounded by shooters like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica.
The Kings haven't used Holmes as a 3-point shooter at all this season, even though he shot 35.1 percent on a career-high 77 attempts in the 2016-17 season.
“My role has changed,” Holmes said. “My ability to roll and space the floor, that’s something they wanted me to do. It’s something that was my niche in the NBA, and something that I can take hold to and make sure I can get on the floor. It’s something I kinda embraced.”
Holmes is shooting a career-best 66 percent from the field this season. He led the NBA in field-goal percentage earlier this season, and he still ranks third overall entering the break.
His path into the league wasn’t easy. The 2015 second-round pick has tirelessly worked to carve out an NBA role. Holmes plays to his strengths and gives maximum effort on both ends of the court.
All that hard work has given Holmes a unique perspective on the league.
“I just think for me, it’s remembering the blessing of even being able to play in the NBA,” Holmes said. “There’s guys who would trade shoes with you whether you’re sitting on the bench not playing or you’re starting. I think just remembering the blessing in itself that you made it to the NBA and now you have to do what you can to stay in the NBA."
“If that means right now you’re not playing, you’ve got to cheer your guys on and make sure they’re ready in practice,” Holmes added. “Just never taking that for granted, never getting down on yourself, because you’re doing something that so many people want to do and something you dreamed of your whole life.”
Holmes was having a breakout season before tearing his labrum. He's averaging a career-high 13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in his fifth season.
There is a chance he returns to the court in a few weeks, which would be music to the Kings’ ears. They miss his tenacity on defense and how he keeps things simple on offense.