SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox has been sidelined for five weeks with a severely sprained ankle, but he thinks he will be back in the lineup soon -- very soon.
Fox said he expects to return sometime next week, perhaps as early as Tuesday when the Kings visit the Charlotte Hornets. He believes he will be back before the team returns from a four-game road trip to play the Houston Rockets on Dec. 23 and called the Dec. 26 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves a "worst-case scenario."
"Everybody's been telling me I have wolverine blood," Fox joked before Friday's game against the New York Knicks. "That's what everybody keeps saying. That might be my new nickname."
Fox has not played since suffering a grade-3 ankle sprain at practice Nov. 11. A number of players missed three to four months with the same injury in recent years, but is recovering quickly.
"I am surprised how fast it's been," he said. "I knew I wouldn't be out as long as most people are with the grade-3, but I didn't think it would happen this fast."
Fox averaged 18.2 points, 7.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds in nine games before he got hurt. He said he has been ramping up workouts in recent days, going hard in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 drills at the team's practice facility.
"Yesterday was the most I've done, and that was more than I would do in a regular game," Fox said. "After that I wasn't sore at all. This morning I was fine, so we'll take the next couple of days and see how I am."
Fox said the rehabilitation process has resulted in improved range of motion in his injured left ankle.
"I have more range of motion now than I did before I got hurt," he said. "My left ankle has just never had that much range of motion, but since we've been pounding it hard and going at it so hard, it's been a lot better than before I got hurt."
Kings forward Marvin Bagley III returned to help the Kings beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday after missing 22 games with a broken thumb. The Kings haven't been at full strength since Bagley was injured in a season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns.
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