De’Aaron Fox enters health and safety protocols, dooming Kings’ play-in hopes

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Kings leading scorer De’Aaron Fox is set to miss multiple games because of health and safety protocols, leaving Sacramento in need of a playoff miracle.

The Sacramento Kings already had a tough path to making the NBA playoffs this year. Now their hopes of sneaking into the play-in games have been all but dashed.

Star guard De’Aaron Fox has been placed under health and safety protocols, which will keep him out for as long as two weeks.

The Athletic’s Sham Charania reported the news on Friday.

Basically, that’s awful news for the Kings.

Without De’Aaron Fox, the Kings have a serious problem

In order to make their way into the play-in games as the 10th-place team, Sacramento will have to make up a 5.5-game deficit to the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs in their last 13 games. And they’ll have to do it without their leading scorer. Hopefully, no other players are added.

Fox has averaged a career-high 25.2 points per game this season along with 7.2 assists. He leads all NBA players in fourth-quarter scoring, according to StatMuse.

The job of filling in for Fox will go to Tyrese Haliburton, as reported by James Ham of NBC Sports. Haliburton was Sacramento’s first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft at 12th overall. He’s averaged 12.6 points per game.

The Kings’ were already in free fall before this development. The team has lost 10 of its last 12 games.

There was some reason for optimism since they tasted victory in two of their last three. That slight boost came with Fox scoring 30 in both wins. He won’t be around to add that same scoring touch to Kings games over the next two weeks.

Sacramento will have to plan to go without Fox for up to eight games, including contests against the Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Spurs — teams either in or fighting to get in the playoffs.

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