Kings’ Kevin Huerter gets 100% real about brutal season-ending injury, missing NBA Playoffs

Kevin Huerter explained why he opted to undergo surgery even if it comes at the cost of his availability for the Kings’ stretch run.

Kings' Kevin Huerter (casual clothes) looking disappointed, with De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis looking at him with serious faces

The Sacramento Kings may have been able to recapture the heights they reached during their breakout Beam Team 2022-23 season, but they have remained competitive, which is no mean feat given how difficult it is to keep up with the tough Western Conference. However, the Kings have had a rough go on the injury front in recent weeks. They lost starting shooting guard Kevin Huerter for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury, putting their depth to the test.

Huerter elected to get surgery on March 29, keeping him out for the rest of the season and rendering his services unavailable for the Kings amid their push for a playoff spot. Nonetheless, this was a necessary operation for him to go through so he could finally put these shoulder issues in the rearview mirror for good.

“Timing obviously sucks. … Successful operation, it’s something we felt like we needed to do from a long-term health (perspective) and me not having any issues moving forward,” Huerter told reporters prior to the Kings’ Thursday night contest against direct rival for a playoff spot, the New Orleans Pelicans, via Sean Cunningham of FOX40.

The Kings guard dislocated his shoulder on March 18 in a 121-111 win over the Grizzlies. The 25-year old marksman played just 1:51 of that contest, exiting the game early on after a swipe down from Desmond Bane on a Kevin Huerter layup attempt hit the Kings guard on the wrist. The contact from Bane hyperextended Huerter’s shoulder, rendering him unable to move his arm.

Bane didn’t necessarily yank Huerter’s shoulder out of the socket, but the contact was enough to aggravate what was already an existing shoulder issue for the Kings’ marksman.

Kevin Huerter’s shoulder injury history

It took nearly two weeks before Kevin Huerter decided to undergo surgery; he was weighing the pros and cons of such a decision, with the most prominent con being that he’ll be unable for the Kings for the stretch run. Nonetheless, Huerter came to the conclusion that surgery was the best way for him to recover from a problem that’s been plaguing him for years.

“It’s an issue that I’ve had for a couple of years now. Nothing that was significant enough for me to have to fix it. I haven’t had issues with it in a couple of years. [But] this one, most recent [shoulder injury] episode, the injury became more significant. Where it was currently at, it could be 100 percent fixed with surgery. … If I’m just waiting for the next time I get hurt, there could be damage that I can’t fix with surgery,” Huerter said.

“For me to have the option to be fully 100 percent healthy and put this behind me, I just got to do it, get it done with.”

The Kings guard added that he dislocated his shoulder as early as when he was a kid, and then in his sophomore season, he sustained a left rotator cuff strain with an associated shoulder capsule strain on a shooting foul from Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.

Kevin Huerter is only 25 years old, so he has plenty of good years of basketball left in him. There was no point for him to power through the injury and run the risk of shortening his career because of it.

Kings shoulder on without their two best shooting guards

Losing Kevin Huerter was already damaging enough as it is for the Kings. But the loss of Malik Monk to a sprained MCL compounded matters for a Sacramento team that’s still fighting for its playoff life.

Monk, the presumptive favorite for the Sixth Man of the Year award, was someone the Kings relied on to assume shot-creation duties alongside De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, effectively acting as insurance for when Huerter is hurt or is struggling. But now, the Kings are putting their faith in defensive-minded rookie Keon Ellis to give them quality minutes as the team’s two top options at the position recuperate from their respective injuries.

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