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Harrison Barnes finally clears COVID-19 protocol, joining Kings in NBA bubble

Ryan Young
·3-min read

After spending nearly three weeks stuck in Sacramento with COVID-19, Kings forward Harrison Barnes is finally on the way to rejoin his team at Walt Disney World.

Barnes cleared protocol in California on Thursday night and boarded a flight to Orlando on Friday morning, coach Luke Walton said. Barnes will have to quarantine once again upon arrival inside the NBA’s bubble.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

“He finished his Sacramento protocol, so he is on a flight to Orlando now,” Walton said, via the Sacramento Bee. “We’re happy to be getting him in here and then he’ll have to start his two-day quarantine once he gets here and pass that protocol before he can join us on the court, but a big step for us as far as getting him out here.”

Barnes first tested positive for the coronavirus over Independence Day weekend, according to the Sacramento Bee, and revealed his positive test on July 14. The team left for Florida without him, while he was “primarily asymptomatic” and quarantining at home.

He was just the latest Kings player to contract the coronavirus, along with Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len. Barnes is the last player among them to officially recover.

Walton unsure when Barnes will be ready

The Kings will be without Marvin Bagley during the restart, as he suffered a right foot sprain in practice on Sunday — which marked the latest in a series of injuries for the former Duke star this season. The team will enter the restart with a 28-36 record, the 11th-best in the Western Conference, and will need to make a push to make it into the playoffs.

Barnes was averaging 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this year when play was suspended, his eighth in the league. The 28-year-old signed a four-year, $85 million deal with the Kings before the start of the season.

It’s unclear if he’ll be ready for the Kings’ first game in the restart next Friday. His presence on the court right away, however, would undoubtedly be helpful in the Kings’ push to make it into the postseason.

“We’re going to evaluate him when he gets here,” Walton said, via the Sacramento Bee. “We’re going to be smart about it, but Harrison was probably the guy working the hardest building up to when he tested positive. So we’ll see where he’s at and do some physical testing, but if he’s ready to play that first game, he’ll play … As long as his baseline is at a certain level, I think he’ll have enough time to be ready for that first game, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes
Kings star Harrison Barnes is finally ready to join the team in Florida after battling the coronavirus, though it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to play. (AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

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