Chris Paul is back. But the Phoenix Suns team around him seems less ordinary.
Starting center Deandre Ayton and guard Cameron Payne both left Tuesday’s 111-97 loss to the Houston Rockets with injuries. They join All-NBA guard Devin Booker and forward Cameron Johnson on the Suns sidelined list.
Ayton rolled his left ankle a bit before halftime. He limped off the court shortly before halftime and sprained his ankle, but did not return to the floor to start the third quarter. Payne injured his right leg and similarly did not join his teammates on the floor after halftime. of Sun sent both players out of the game In the third quarter. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
Booker has been sidelined for two straight games with the injury. His recovery time is unclear. However, he indicated that the Suns were not close to the answer, stating that they will not line up for Tuesday’s game. He watched the game in street clothes.
Johnson underwent surgery on Nov. 8 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. After spending most of the first three NBA seasons off the bench, he joined the starting lineup in October and got off to a good start, averaging 13 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 43.1% from 3-point range. . He was initially expected to miss 1-2 months, and the timetable for his return is unclear.
Paul returned to the lineup on December 7 after missing 14 games with a foot injury. Payne took a big role in his place and Booker was sidelined before the injury. After a 16-7 start, the Suns have now lost five straight, including Tuesday’s loss to a 9-18 Rockets team tied for last place in the Western Conference.
The demand certainly applies to a team with title ambitions. If there’s any consolation for the Suns, it’s that the injury bug is hitting in December.