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Sports

Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes under quarantine after leaving NBA bubble for food

The Sacramento Kings will be without a key player over the next several days as they prepare to resume the Western Conference playoff race at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.

Kings center Richaun Holmes said he was placed under mandatory 10-day quarantine after leaving the NBA bubble for food. Holmes issued a statement Monday, apologizing for breaking COVID-19 protocols.

“After the initial quarantine period, I briefly and accidentally crossed the NBA campus line to pick up a food delivery,” Holmes said. “I am currently in quarantine and have 8 days left. I apologize for my actions and look forward to rejoining my teammates for our playoff push.”

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Holmes’ mother, who has been a become a fan favorite in the Kings’ social media community, tweeted there are some lines her son should only cross for his momma’s cooking.

Holmes missing practice in NBA bubble

Holmes is enjoying a breakout season with the Kings after coming to Sacramento as a free agent last summer. He outplayed Dewayne Dedmon to win the starting center spot early in the season and helped carry the team while De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic missed time due to injuries.

Holmes had recently returned from a shoulder injury when the NBA suspended its season in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. He is averaging career highs of 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.

This is a crucial stretch in terms of preparation for the Kings, who will play eight seeding games beginning July 31 in hopes of snapping a 13-year playoff drought. The Kings are 3½ games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. To make the playoffs, they will likely have to outplay the Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers in seeding games, and then beat the Grizzlies twice under a play-in scenario.

Holmes’ absence represents another blow to the team’s season-long struggle to establish continuity, but it might give Bagley an opportunity in practice to show he would fit with the starting unit. Bagley, the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, is averaging 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in his second season, but he has been limited to 13 games due to thumb and foot injuries.

Four members of the Kings’ 35-person travel party were initially prevented from entering the bubble due to COVID-19 protocols. Buddy Hield and Jabari Parker have since joined the team, arriving in Orlando on Sunday after recovering from the virus. Alex Len had not been cleared to join the team as of Sunday. The team has not specified whether the fourth person is a player, but other than Hield, Parker and Len, Harrison Barnes is the only player who hasn’t been seen in photos, videos or social media posts from the NBA bubble.

COVID-19 test results

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced that two of 322 players tested positive for COVID-19 during their initial 48-hour quarantine. Those players never cleared quarantine and have since left the campus to isolate at home or in isolation housing, officials said.

The NBA and NBPA also announced 19 players tested positive during in-market testing before teams converged on Orlando. Those players are staying in their home markets to recover until they are cleared to join the bubble under guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NBA rules. That list includes Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook, a former MVP who revealed Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kings coach Luke Walton didn’t disclose Holmes’ mishap when he addressed the media Sunday and the team took Monday off, but Walton alluded to the roster uncertainty every team faces in an unprecedented bubble environment.

“That’s part of the things that all the teams are going through right now because with this is so much unknown,” Walton said. “There could be a week. There could be — hey, someone doesn’t come at all. That’s just the reality of what it is, so I’m very open to our team about that.

“We’re trying to create the mindset that we’re going to embrace all of it. We know it’s going to be crazy. People are going to join us. Maybe they won’t. Maybe people who are here test positive at some point, and every team has to go through this, so we’ve got to be ready to accept what our roles are. Our roles are going to change as this thing goes, and the teams that do that most efficiently are going to give themselves the best advantage.“

This story was originally published July 13, 2020 1:48 PM.

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