Kings coach Mike Brown explains decision to sit De’Aaron Fox out vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Paul Kitagaki Jr./pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox is considered day-to-day after being ruled out for Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Kings coach Mike Brown discussed the team’s decision to hold Fox out during his pregame news conference, saying “sometimes you’ve got to protect a player from himself.”

The Kings (13-10) started Davion Mitchell in place of Fox. The Cavaliers (16-9) started Caris LeVert in place of Donovan Mitchell, who was held out due to right lower leg soreness.

Fox was ruled out due to right foot soreness. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday in Milwaukee, Fox revealed that he has been playing through pain for more than a month after injuring the foot in a Nov. 5 game against the Orlando Magic. Fox said he has also been dealing with a minor left thumb injury while recovering a respiratory illness.

“Fox has been banged up a little bit,” Brown said. “He’s got some issues with his foot and some other things, so I just felt that it would be best to sit him tonight and let him get his body back so he’ll be ready to continue on this long road trip.”

The Kings faced the Cavaliers in the second game of a six-game road trip. They will visit the New York Knicks on Sunday, Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday before concluding the trip against the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 16.

Brown didn’t seem to think Fox would be sidelined long, but he said it’s not clear when he will return.

“It’s not him saying he can’t go because if it was 100% up to him, he’d probably be going just like he has,” Brown said. “He got banged up a handful of games ago, so this was a joint decision.

“There’s a lot of games left and sometimes you’ve got to protect a player from himself, especially one who’s competitive, who wants to be out there with his teammates, so we’re just taking it day-by-day. It’s not a thing that I’ve looked into down the road or tried to pick a target date when he’ll come back. We’ll see how he feels, and if I feel he needs to continue to rest then we’ll sit him out.”

Fox was held to 15 points, two rebounds and two assists in a 126-113 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday at Fiserv Forum. He went 5 of 16 from the field and 1 of 6 from 3-point range. That continued a recent trend for Fox, who has made just 39 of 102 (.382) field-goal attempts and 10 of 35 (.286) from beyond the arc over the past seven games.

Fox scored 37 points in the Nov. 5 win over Orlando, including a game-winning 3-pointer from the halfcourt logo. He also produced 30-point games against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 11, the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 22, but he hasn’t looked as explosive over the past two weeks.

Fox, who came out of Kentucky as the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, is averaging 22.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He is still shooting a career-high 50.7% from the field, 36.9% from 3-point range and a career-best 82.6% at the free-throw line despite his recent struggles.