Barnes will have to self-quarantine once he arrives in the bubble and produce two negative coronavirus tests before he is able to practice. Even then, Barnes likely hasn’t been working out, at least not at full strength, since contracting the virus, and he certainly has not been able to play 5-on-5. As a result, it could take him some time to get back to game shape, though head coach Luke Walton isn’t overly concerned about Barnes’ physical fitness considering how Barnes looked when the players first reported to Sacramento in June.
“Harrison was probably the guy working the hardest building up to when he tested positive so we’ll see where he’s at,” Walton said Friday morning. “We’ll do some physical testing, but if he’s ready to play by the first game, he’ll play. We couldn’t start preparing for that not knowing when he’d be joining us, so I think now 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 you know, we’ll have to wait and see.
“I’m very happy for our team that he’s joining us, you know he’s a big part of what we do on and off the court, so I think just him getting here will be a nice moment for the group. And, you know, individually for Harrison too, this guy works nonstop, and I know how excited he was to start playing again, so you know he’s pretty mature with how he handles things, but I know it must feel pretty good for him too.”
The good news didn’t end there for the Kings. Everyone who played Wednesday against the Heat remains healthy, and De’Aaron Fox was able to fully participate in practice Friday. Richaun Holmes and Alex Len both participated in the non-contact portions of practice, and Walton says that Holmes will likely play in an upcoming scrimmage, though Len is further behind.
After a bout of bad luck, the fortunes may be turning for Sacramento. Just getting Barnes back is a huge boon for the team chemistry, and that should help the Kings progress the longer they remain in Orlando.