If the Kings needed an extra boost heading into Friday night's all-important matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, they got it.
According to a league source, star point guard De'Aaron Fox has cleared the first stage of the league health and safety protocol after missing a little over two weeks of action. He will not play against the Spurs, but he is allowed to be on the sidelines to cheer on his teammates as they fight to remain in the chase for the play-in games.
Fox is still undergoing several steps in the process to return to the court, but this is tremendous news. While the source couldn't put an exact timeline on his return, there is hope that he will be back on the floor this season.
After entering the league's protocol on April 23, there has been very little news surrounding the 23-year-old point guard. The Kings had a similar situation earlier in the year with big man Hassan Whiteside. While he wasn't cleared to play, the center sat on the bench with his teammates for multiple games while he awaited final approval.
Fox is having a breakout season for the Kings. In 58 games this season he's averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35.1 minutes per game. He's won two Western Conference Player of the Week trophies and was among the leaders in fourth quarter scoring before going out.
In Fox's absence, the Kings have rallied around rookie Tyrese Haliburton, before he went out with an injury, and now veteran Delon Wright. The team is 5-2 with their leader on the shelf, including a current four game win streak that has them just 2.5 games behind the Spurs in the play-in chase with 6 games remaining on the schedule.
With the season winding down, the news on Fox is very encouraging. If his team can continue to take care of business, he might get a chance to be a difference maker in the Kings' final few games.