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Marvin Bagley III to Return to Kings After Missing 11 Games with Knee Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 12:  Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Sacramento Kings goes up for a slam dunk against the Minnesota Timberwolves during an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on December 12, 2018 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III is expected to return to game action on Monday evening against the Orlando Magic after missing the past 11 games with a bone bruise in his left knee, according to James Ham of NBC Sports.

Ham added that it's "unclear whether the rookie will have a minutes restriction early on, but he's been able to practice and workout with the team over the last week in preparation for his return."

"I'm feeling good," Bagley told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. "The last couple of days, I had good workouts, playing 3-on-3 and 4-on-4, a lot of getting up and down. I'm just itching to get back out there. I can't wait."

The 19-year-old Bagley has averaged 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 23.1 minutes this season, appearing in 26 games (all off the bench). He's been a solid contributor for the surprising Kings, who have started 19-20 on the season and are currently just 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

The Kings have come back down to earth without Bagley, however, going just 4-7 while he was out of action. 

"During this time, I've been learning a lot and watching and figuring out how to get my body stronger," Bagley said. "This time has been very needed. I've been taking advantage of every opportunity that I've had to get stronger and I can't wait to get back out there with my teammates."

With Willie Cauley-Stein holding down the center position and Nemanja Bjelica playing the stretch-4, Bagley is likely to remain a backup in the frontcourt, at least for this season. But Bagley is clearly a building block for the future, joining Buddy Hield, De'Aaron Fox, Cauley-Stein, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles is the team's young core. 

And he'll offer the team a solid batch of scoring and rebounding off the bench, instantly improving the team's frontcourt depth as the Kings fight to remain in the postseason conversation.

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