Kevin Huerter & Keegan Murray’s Status Unclear For Kings Season Opener
As we move within two days of Wednesday night’s season opener, it appears as if the Sacramento Kings will be playing their first game of the season without its prized rookie.
Kings forward Keegan Murray remains in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and is unlikely to make his debut until he can log a full practice upon his return, per head coach Mike Brown.
“Keegan is still in protocol, and our biggest thing for him is that we want him to rest and be right, whenever that is that he comes back,” Brown said of the rookie forward’s current health status on Monday afternoon.
Murray was one of Sacramento’s key contributors during the first two preseason games as the 22-year-old scored 16 points in each of his appearances. After missing last Wednesday’s game in Phoenix due to what was originally reported as a non-COVID illness, Murray returned to practice on Thursday before the Kings faced the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
The Kings ruled Murray out for the preseason finale, and the fourth-overall pick was later placed into the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Saturday evening.
Health and safety protocols are different in every situation, meaning that it’s possible Murray can exit protocols in the coming days, but don’t expect Brown to rush the rookie into a game situation.
“A guy that’s out that long, I would not have him play without a practice,” Brown said of Murray’s eventual return to action during Monday’s practice. “There is zero pressure at all. We want him to come back the right way, we don’t want him to hurry. There are 82 games. If he misses one or two, whatever, he’ll be fine. There’s no pressure there.”
Sacramento will have two consecutive days off following Wednesday’s season-opener against the Portland Trail Blazers at Golden 1 Center, meaning that Murray will have a chance to get back into the flow of things if he can exit protocols by Wednesday. Still, Brown reiterated that having the Iowa product return to action safely is the team’s highest priority.
“We want him to go through protocol the right way and make sure that he is concentrating on relaxing and getting his rest, getting his mind right before coming back.”
Huerter Participates In Practice
As for recently acquired guard Kevin Huerter’s status, Brown shared that the 24-year-old participated in all of Monday’s practice, except for the full-contact portion.
Huerter missed Friday night’s preseason finale due to ankle soreness, but the Maryland product has been seen getting shots up and moving around with ease during the past couple of practices.
“He’s closer [to a return] today than he was before, because he didn’t even go through the non-contact stuff before, but he went through non-contact stuff today,” Brown said when asked of Huerter’s status. “He did not join us for contact stuff. He’s a step closer, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
If Huerter is unable to play on Wednesday, the Kings could start Malik Monk at the starting shooting guard position alongside his former college teammate, De’Aaron Fox.
Another option for Brown and his staff could be to slide Terence Davis into the lineup as the energized guard has pushed his way into the discussion for having a notable role in the rotation.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
Monday, October 17th – NBA rosters must be set for the regular season
Wednesday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs Portland Trail Blazers – 7:00 PM PST (Season opener)
Saturday, October 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
Sunday, October 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors 5:30 PM PST