Just as the Sacramento Kings were dispelling the idea that teams should have wanted to face them in the first round of the West playoffs comes this gut punch.
All-Star point guard De’Aaron Fox has suffered a fractured index finger on his left hand — his shooting hand — and is officially “doubtful” for Game 5 on Wednesday. Shams Charania of The Athletic was first with the news, which multiple sources have since confirmed.
The injury happened during Game 4 — apparently after the whistle on the play below with 4:35 left in the game — and he played through it at the time.
This appears to be the play that De’Aaron Fox fractured his left index finger in the middle of the fourth quarter yesterday. On a floater after the whistle. Looks like it clips Kevon Looney’s hand. First time you see him clutch at it. pic.twitter.com/0Ip5YWbw8g
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 24, 2023
Adrian Wojnarowski reports the fracture is near the tip of the index finger. The Kings later confirmed this was an avulsion fracture — where a muscle pulls away and takes a small piece of bone with it — which is something that has cost players a couple of games, but others such as Kobe Bryant have played through, according to Jeff Stotts at InStreetClothes.com (who has a database of NBA injuries dating back more than a decade).
Whether Fox can play through this injury, and how much it impacts his shooting if he does, could be a big swing in a 2-2 series that has been incredibly even so far.
After an All-Star regular season where he won the Clutch Player of the Year award, Fox has cemented his standing as an elite point guard with his postseason play, averaging 31.5 points, seven assists, and six rebounds a game. How much the Warriors fear Fox was evident on the final play of regulation Sunday, when Draymond Green and Stephen Curry doubled Fox to make him give up the ball and dare any other King to beat them (Harrison Barnes almost did, but his good look 3-pointer clanged off the back of the rim).
If he misses Game 5 it will be a big ask of Davion Mitchell, who has played a key defensive role in this series but is not near the same offensive force. The Kings also will need a big night from Domantas Sabonis — who has not played at the same level with Green and Kevon Looney draped on him — and some other role players to step up.