Kings vs. Bulls: De’Aaron Fox, Alex Caruso injury updates; playoff race; scouting reports

The Kings are hopeful All-NBA point guard De’Aaron Fox will be ready to return to the lineup when they face the Chicago Bulls on Monday at Golden 1 Center.

Fox is listed as questionable after missing the last two games with a left knee contusion, an injury he sustained in a Feb. 26 loss to the Miami Heat. Fox accompanied the team on a two-game road trip, but he was ruled out for both games against the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Fox was a full participant in practice Sunday. He told reporters he was feeling “better” and “optimistic about tomorrow for sure.”

The Kings (34-25) are coming off an impressive 124-120 overtime victory against the Timberwolves, the top team in the Western Conference. Malik Monk, a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, came off the bench to score a season-high 39 points in the absence of Fox, his former Kentucky running mate.

The Bulls (28-32) are coming off a 113-97 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. They have lost three of five since the All-Star break and four of six dating back to Feb. 14.

Alex Caruso is questionable for Monday’s game due to a right hamstring strain. Torrey Craig is out with a right knee sprain. Lonzo Ball (knee surgery), Zach LaVine (foot surgery) and Patrick Williams (foot surgery) are out for the season.

This will be the second and final meeting between the Kings and Bulls this season. Fox erupted for 41 points in a 123-115 victory over the Bulls on Feb. 3 at the United Center in Chicago.

Scouting Sacramento

The Kings were seventh in the Western Conference as of Sunday afternoon, a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns for the No. 6 seed. The Suns were scheduled to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night with All-Star guard Devin Booker sidelined due to a right ankle sprain.

The top six teams in the West will secure automatic playoff berths. The next four teams will compete in the play-in tournament for one of the last two playoff bids.

Fox is averaging 26.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals. He has 38 steals in his last 14 games, an average of 2.7 per game.

Domantas Sabonis averages 19.9 points, 13.2 rebounds and 8.4 assists. He leads the league in rebounding, double-doubles (55) and triple-doubles (21). Sabonis has recorded 42 consecutive double-doubles dating back to Dec. 2.

Monk is now averaging 15.4 points and 5.2 assists. Keegan Murray averages 15.1 points and 5.3 rebounds. Murray has taken his game to another level since the All-Star break, averaging 20.6 points while shooting 53.7% from the field and 53.6% from 3-point range.

Harrison Barnes (12.2 ppg) and Kevin Huerter (10.9 ppg) are also scoring in double figures for Sacramento.

Scouting Chicago

The Bulls are ninth in the Eastern Conference, six games back of the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic for the No. 6 seed.

DeMar DeRozan averages 22.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He is shooting 46.6% from the field, 33.5% from 3-point range and 85.8% at the free-throw line on 7.3 attempts per game.

LaVine averaged 19.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 25 games behind he was shut down for the rest of the season. He has not played since Jan. 18.

Coby White is averaging 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 38.3% from 3-point range on 7.3 attempts per game. Center Nikola Vucevic averages 17.9 points and 10.7 rebounds.

Ayo Dosunmu (10.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists), Williams (10.0 points, 3.9 rebounds), Caruso (9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists) and Andre Drummond (8.5 points, 9.0 rebounds) have also played key roles for Chicago.

Bulls at Kings

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Golden 1 Center

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

Odds: Kings -7.5

Over/under: 227.5

Injury report

Bulls: QUESTIONABLE — Alex Caruso (hamstring). OUT — Lonzo Ball (knee); Torrey Craig (knee); Henri Drell (G League); Andrew Funk (G League); Zach LaVine (foot); Adama Sanogo (G League); Patrick Williams (foot).

Kings: QUESTIONABLE — De’Aaron Fox (knee). OUT — Sasha Vezenkov (ankle).

Upcoming schedule

March 4 vs. Chicago Bulls

March 6 at Los Angeles Lakers

March 7 vs. San Antonio Spurs

March 10 vs. Houston Rockets

March 12 vs. Milwaukee Bucks