A day filled with congratulations for De’Aaron Fox ended with him having to be helped off the court late in the Kings’ 100-91 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Fox, who had been added to the U.S. Team for Friday’s Rising Stars game as part of NBA All-Star Weekend earlier in the day, jumped to pass when he was bumped from behind by Houston center Clint Capela with 34.3 seconds left.
Fox, who was a high school star in Houston and had about 70 family members and friends at Toyota Center, began to bleed after landing on his head.
Houston’s training staff made it to Fox first, followed by Kings personnel and teammates. Fox walked off the court with help from Kings trainer Manny Romero and Rockets trainer Keith Jones.
Fox received stitches above his right eye and his chin. There was no word on if Fox would be placed in concussion protocol, which would likely keep him out of the Rising Stars game.
A player diagnosed with a concussion under the protocol is not allowed to begin return-to-participation exertion protocol until 24 hours after the time of injury, which would be Thursday night for Fox.
Before a player with a concussion can attempt the return-to-participation exertion protocol, he must be without concussion-related symptoms at rest and be evaluated by a physician.
Only then can the player begin the process, which includes riding a stationary bike, jogging, agility work and non-contact team drills. There is no timetable to complete the process, but it’s not likely the Kings would want Fox to get through the protocol for an exhibition game.
The Kings’ first game after the All-Star break is Feb. 22 at home against Oklahoma City.
Fox was added to the Rising Stars game as an injury replacement for Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball.
“It’s cool,” Fox said of being added to the roster before Wednesday’s game. “I wasn’t mad that I wasn’t going, but of course it’s an honor to be selected.”
The addition of Fox gave the Kings three guards in the game, along with rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic and second-year player Buddy Hield, who will both be on the World Team.
The game features some of the NBA’s best rookies and second-year players.
Fox was injured late in a game the Kings kept competitive against one of the NBA’s hottest teams. The victory was Houston’s 10th in a row heading into the All-Star break.
James Harden had 28 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Rockers (44-13). Chris Paul had 19 points and seven assists.
Bogdanovic led the Kings (18-39) with 20 points and five assists. Garrett Temple scored 13 points off the bench.
Kings coach Dave Joerger was impressed with how the Kings defended the 3-point line, limiting the Rockets to 28.6 percent (14 for 49) – a nice showing for the team that is the NBA’s worst in that department. Sacramento entered Wednesday allowing opponents to shoot 38.5 percent from 3-point range.
Overall, Houston shot just 39.8 percent for the game.
“We forced some tough shots, we took on the challenge to guard their guys individually,” Joerger said. “Our bigs are getting better at the pick-and-roll. We’re getting better at the concepts we’re trying to learn.”
The challenge of defending two All-Stars like Harden and Paul isn’t easy for anyone, especially a team that starts two rookies, Fox and Bogdanovic, at guard.
“Both of them can shoot and have the ability to get to the free-throw line,” Hield said. “Both are great isolators. They’re tough guards, but I think we did a good job on them tonight.”