The Sacramento Kings' tough start to the season got even worse on Monday evening when the team announced that their rising star point guard, De'Aaron Fox, will be sidelined for at least the next three-to-four weeks due to a sprained ankle.
Per the team, Fox suffered the injury during practice on Monday, and subsequently underwent an MRI which confirmed the sprain. He will be re-evaluated after the initial three-to-four week timetable, at which point they'll know more about exactly when he'll return to the court. According to a report from Shams Charania and Jason Jones of The Athletic, Fox suffered a Grade III sprain, the Kings will be cautious with his recovery.
After showing signs of promise last season, when they were one of the most exciting teams in the league, the Kings have stumbled out of the gate, going just 3-6 over their first nine games this time around.
They re-signed Harrison Barnes to a big deal over the summer and made a number of other acquisitions including signing Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph. The Kings had hopes that bolstering their roster around young talents such as Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III could help them jump into the playoff picture for the first time since 2006. So far, however, it hasn't worked.
Bagley is also out with a thumb injury, and new coach Luke Walton has mentioned that their preseason trip to India disrupted their preparation for the season. It hasn't helped either that they've started off with a tough schedule that's already seen them play the Jazz twice, the Nuggets, Raptors, Trail Blazers and Suns.
Now, they'll have to navigate the next month or so without one of their best players. Fox is key not only for his talent -- he's averaging 18 points, seven assists and four rebounds -- but for how he sets the tone for the team. This is especially true on the offensive end, where they've been more than 10 points better per 100 possessions when he's on the floor.
It's still very early in the season, and after the top five or six teams, the West appears to be wide open. This isn't a complete lost cause just yet, but the Kings were already going to have their work cut out for them to get into the playoff picture after their poor start. Now, their margin for error is even smaller with Fox's injury.