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Kings' Bagley III avoids serious injury, diagnosed with left knee sprain

Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III appears to have avoided a major knee injury after an MRI on Thursday confirmed he suffered just a sprained left knee against the Bucks on Wednesday night, the team announced on Thursday.

Bagley will be re-evaluated in approximately one to two weeks.

As the third quarter came to a close Wednesday, Bagley — shuffling to stay with his man on defense — was screened by Malcolm Brogdon. The unexpected impact resulted in an awkward fall that left Bagley clutching his left knee while crying out on the court.

After about 90 seconds on the ground, he walked off the court with the help of teammates Harry Giles and Kosta Koufos. The team later indicated he wouldn’t return to the game.

Bagley finished with nine points and seven rebounds, playing 18 minutes in the Kings’ eventual 141-140 overtime loss. He had his left leg immobilized in a knee brace after the game and did not speak with the media, but did talk to teammates.

Earlier this season, Bagley missed 11 games in December after suffering a bone bruise in the same knee.

“You just tell him to keep your head up,” Koufos said, per Jason Alexander of The Sacramento Bee. “He’s definitely an integral part of what we’re doing this year. He’s just a phenomenal player and a phenomenal person off the court, so you just want to be there as a teammate and try to help him. You have love for all of your teammates. We’re a brotherhood and we look out for one another, and you just want everybody to be healthy.”

“He said he was good when he was walking back (to the locker room), so that takes a little edge off to know that he’s not in too much pain,” Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said, per The Sacramento Bee. “Games like that, when one of your soldiers goes down, you just try to win it for him, so that’s what we tried to do.”

The Kings’ loss, coupled with the San Antonio Spurs’ win and LA Clippers loss on Thursday, keeps them at No. 9 in the Western Conference playoff chase. However, if Bagley misses an extended period of time, it may severely harm Sacramento’s hopes of ending a 12-season long playoff drought.

“He’s 19 years old and he has a lot of basketball in front of him,” Kings guard Buddy Hield said of Bagley. “We have to be cautious with him. If he plays on Friday, that would be great, but if he doesn’t, we’ve got to go to war with whatever we’ve got.”

Bagley, drafted No. 2 overall after Deandre Ayton, is averaging 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in 24.9 minutes through 46 games, and earned a spot on Team USA in the MTN DEW Ice Rising Stars at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In one season at Duke, Bagley posted 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds — shooting 61.4 percent — in 33.9 minutes, leading the Blue Devils to the Midwest Regional Final, where they lost to No. 1 ranked Kansas.