The team expects Bledsoe to return to full strength by training camp next fall.
The Suns initially reported Bledsoe’s injury as a sprained left knee, and coach Jeff Hornacek believed he would miss just six weeks, per Coro. But a further diagnosis revealed Bledsoe would need season-ending surgery.
"They can either repair it or cut it out," Hornacek said, per Bob Baum of the Associated Press. "Repairing is probably the best thing to happen. You're out longer but it's the best thing for your joint and knee."
It’s the second such injury in three seasons for the sixth-year pro, who required surgery to repair a torn right meniscus in 2013-14 after 43 games. The procedure kept him out for the remainder of the season.
Hornacek and general manager Ryan McDonough elaborated Monday—before Bledsoe’s full prognosis was revealed—on how his absence will affect their personnel approach moving forward, courtesy of the Suns:
Phoenix Suns @Suns
McDonough and Hornacek discuss the loss of Bledsoe and coaching staff changes in the @Annexus Practice Report. https://t.co/An70LMQtnX2015-12-28 22:24:22
The Suns are fifth in scoring (103.5 points per game), but that figure will likely take a blow with their leading scorer (20.4 ppg) now gone.
NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA
Eric Bledsoe is just 1 of 4 players this season averaging 20 PPG, 6 APG, 4 RPG & 2 SPG. (via @ESPNStatsInfo) https://t.co/nsLXT85d8H2015-12-29 19:43:58
They’ll need to lean on fellow point guard Brandon Knight even more, while also getting increased contributions across the floor—perhaps even from forwards—to facilitate clean ball distribution to ensure they can keep their offense afloat.
Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk elaborated on how the team will adjust with Knight now as the clear leader:
This is Brandon Knight‘s show now, as he’ll move from a secondary point guard to the clear lead ball-handler. Knight is capable, but the odds are stacked against him leading Phoenix back into the playoff hunt. He’s a little too prone to sloppy passes and streaky shooting.
The Suns are 12-21 and riding a five-game losing streak. They will likely find it hard to climb much higher than their current No. 12 spot without Bledsoe.