Marvin Bagley

Kings' Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes cleared of minutes restrictions

Kings' Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes cleared of minutes restrictions

Kings head coach Luke Walton gave an encouraging medical update on his team Thursday morning, just a day before his team is set to open their NBA restart schedule in the Orlando bubble.

“Harrison [Barnes] and Richaun [Holmes] will play,” Walton said. “They won’t have a minutes restriction, I’ll just keep a close eye on their wind and see how they look, but no medical restrictions on them.”

Barnes tested positive for the coronavirus during the Fourth of July weekend. He rejoined the team over the weekend and was able to participate in Monday’s scrimmage despite having just one day of practice under his belt.

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Holmes was cleared to rejoin the team on July 22 after being quarantined for 10 days for violating bubble rules when he met a delivery driver to pick up some chicken wings. He was able to work out in his room, but the Kings have worked him back in slowly after a long stretch of limited activity.

“Alex most likely won’t play tomorrow, but he does continue to get better,” Walton said of his 7-foot rim protector.

Len originally tested positive for the coronavirus on June 21. At one point, he had 24 consecutive days of positive tests and he experienced symptoms in early July.

On July 16, Len was cleared to rejoin the team in Orlando, but his road back to full contact and basketball shape has been long.

[RELATED: Walton unafraid to make big moves in first season as coach]

At this point, Len is considered the third center on the roster behind Holmes and Harry Giles and if he breaks into the rotation, it would likely be for spot duty against a team with major size on their front line.

Marvin Bagley is the lone Kings player that has been ruled out completely for the restart. The second-year big sprained his right foot last week and left the NBA bubble.

De'Aaron Fox returns to practice as Kings get healthy at right time

De'Aaron Fox returns to practice as Kings get healthy at right time

There was nothing but doom and gloom from the Kings earlier in the week. Harrison Barnes still hadn't cleared protocol, Marvin Bagley was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury and De'Aaron Fox was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Coach Luke Walton's crew isn't going to get Bagley back on the court, but the news with the rest of the team is encouraging. Friday morning Walton announced that Barnes has cleared two consecutive coronavirus tests and is on a cross-country flight to Orlando to enter Stage Two of the NBA's protocol. There is legitimate hope that he will be able to rejoin the team in time for the restart of the regular season on July 31.

The news was equally good for Fox. The Kings' starting point guard rolled his ankle last week in practice, putting his season in doubt. He began working non-contact drills earlier in the week and on Friday morning, he was able to make it through a practice.

"De'Aaron practiced today, full practice, full go," Walton said. "He looked good. We'll see how he feels later on tonight and again tomorrow morning."

Fox plans to play in at least one of the Kings' two remaining scrimmages and hasn't been ruled out for Saturday morning's matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. He's extremely confident that he'll be ready for the opener.

While putting Fox out on the court during a scrimmage is a risk, he hasn't played 5-on-5 against an opposing team for four and a half months. There is value in the competition and Fox is looking forward to the opportunity to test his injured ankle.

"I feel like I'm ready," Fox said. "I need one of the scrimmages to see where I am as far as an NBA game and being able to make adjustments before the Spurs game."

Before the injury, there was a buzz around the Kings' facility regarding Fox. He was in tremendous shape and his confidence level was at an all-time high.

"I think the game is continuing to slow down for myself," Fox said. "Obviously, I continue to get stronger, I'm shooting the ball and just seeing the game better in general. I think I definitely attribute that to experience [which] plays a big part in it. I feel the game is slowing down both ways - being able to score the ball and defend and get guys the ball."

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Fox and Barnes are huge pieces to the Kings' rotation, but they aren't the only two on the mend.

After being in lockdown in his room for 10 days, the Kings are taking it slow with center Richaun Holmes. He played two-on-two before practice on Friday, but did not participate in full contact once the practice began. That likely rules him out of the Kings' scrimmage on Saturday morning, but he's getting close to a green light and should be ready for the Game 1. 

7-footer Alex Len is even further away from playing than Holmes, but he's working his way back after 24 consecutive positive coronavirus tests. He played one-on-one but did not face contact in the regular session.

[RELATED: Barnes clears NBA protocol, heads to Orlando bubble]

The Kings seem to be getting healthy at the right moment. With a week to go before they open the season against the San Antonio Spurs, there is potential for the team to get three starters back on the court and a solid rotational piece in Len. Considering where the team was earlier in the week, this is all positive news.

"I think we're getting right at the right time," Fox said. "We'll have most of the guys, obviously Marvin isn't playing, but other guys have to step up and I think we've been doing that kind of stuff all year. This is probably the most guys we've had ready for a long time. We're confident and we're ready to go."

Sacramento will have eight games to battle for position in the standings once the season restarts. While losing Bagley hurts, they aren't the only club missing pieces in the restart. If they can stay healthy from here on out and hit the ground running with Fox leading the way, they have a shot of ending their 13-year playoff drought.

Kings' De'Aaron Fox nearing return as Marvin Bagley leaves NBA bubble

Kings' De'Aaron Fox nearing return as Marvin Bagley leaves NBA bubble

The Kings got good news and bad news Wednesday in the Orlando bubble. Sacramento is inching closer to getting two starters back ahead of the restarted NBA season, but one player has left the bubble and another still is waiting on clearance to join the squad.

Starting with the good news, point guard De’Aaron Fox has been cleared to resume non-contact drills with the team and the Kings are encouraged by his progress after he sprained his ankle last week.

“We’re very hopeful that he’ll be ready for game one,” coach Luke Walton said Wednesday before the Kings took the floor for their first scrimmage game of the NBA’s restart. “He looks good. We pushed him pretty hard yesterday in practice, and he didn’t have any setbacks in how he felt when he woke up today.”

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In addition to Fox, the Kings have center Richaun Holmes back in the fold after a 10-day league-mandated lockdown.

Holmes worked hard during his quarantine, using an exercise bike, a punching bag and other equipment brought to his room by the Kings' training staff. The makeshift tools seem to have worked.

“I’m pleasantly surprised how good he’s looked since the short amount of time he’s been back,”  Walton said. “I was a little concerned -- that much time by yourself, not playing basketball, not running, not jumping -- that he’d be a little further behind, but he looks good.”

Walton said the team will continue to bring Holmes along slowly as a precaution. But like Fox, he should be back in time for the beginning of the restart.

The news isn’t nearly as good for Marvin Bagley and Harrison Barnes. Bagley learned Tuesday that he will miss the remainder of the season with a right foot sprain. Instead of staying in the bubble with his teammates, he has decided to leave the campus and head home.

“It’s unfortunate, he really was playing well, he looked great,” Walton said, adding that Bagley's departure "doesn’t mean that we stop from what we’re trying to do."

[RELATED: Kings' Richaun Holmes ready to return after violating NBA bubble rules]

Walton said the Kings aren't allowed an injury replacement for Bagley at this point. The only exemptions from the league are for players who feel uncomfortable with the setting or for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Barnes continues to sit in Sacramento awaiting clearance to join the team after testing positive for the coronavirus during the Fourth of July weekend. He has to test negative two consecutive days before flying to Orlando, but Walton said the team has a plane waiting for him if he can get through protocol.

The short-handed Kings open their scrimmage schedule Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT against the Miami Heat. NBC Sports California will televise the game with Gary Gerould and Doug Christie on the call. You can also stream it on the My Teams app.