Five games is a very small sample size to draw any conclusions, but it’s been a tough start for the reigning Western Conference champions in the Phoenix Suns.
They started with a 1-3 record in their first four games and then defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in their final competition, but lost starting center Deandre Ayton towards the end of the game due to a leg injury.
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What about the status of the 23-year-old? Here are the latest updates on the center.
What is Deandre Ayton’s injury?
The center appeared to have injured his right lower leg. It’s unclear exactly when Ayton got injured, but it was quite noticeable when the 6-foot-11 center was missing from the team’s bench in the fourth quarter after being substituted at 4:12 in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the suns would make it official. It was a “right leg bruise” and that Ayton would not be returning for the rest of the game.
Injury update: Deandre Ayton (right leg contusion) won’t be returning tonight.
– Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 31, 2021
In 24 minutes of action against the Cavaliers, he finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and a game high plus-minus of +30.
How long has Deandre Ayton been excluded?
According to post-game comments from the players and head coach Monty Williams, the injury didn’t seem too serious.
Ayton was Reportedly walked out of the arena with a slight limpKnocking someone on your knees while playing.
There is no official word about the severity of Ayton’s injury and how long it would keep him out of action.
What is Deandre Ayton’s injury story?
In his fourth season, Ayton has proven himself to be the long-lived Big Man of the Suns.
Aside from a 25-game suspension in the 2019-20 season when he tested positive for a prohibited substance, he has only missed 24 games in the last three seasons.
He made a big leap last season, although his season averages don’t tell the full story, as he has proven to be a key cog, especially in the defensive area on the way of the suns to the 2021 final. In his first playoffs, he averaged 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in 36.4 minutes with 65.8 percent shooting while playing a remarkable defense against Anthony Davis, league MVP Nikola Jokic and the small ball LA Clippers.
However, despite his worth and performance, Ayton and the team were unable to agree on a contract extension for the rookie, the pre-season deadline ending Monday October 18.