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Deandre Ayton Reportedly Placed in COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols by Suns

Adam WellsDecember 27, 2021

Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton runs up the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in San Antonio. Phoenix won 115-111. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
AP Photo/Darren Abate

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is going to miss time after reportedly being placed in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Suns have already had to make do without their starting center on multiple occasions this season. Ayton missed six of seven games from Nov. 2-14 with a leg injury. He also missed the Dec. 10 game against the Boston Celtics with a non-COVID illness. 

In those seven games, the Suns went 7-0 with an average margin of victory of 13.4 points. 

It's a testament to Phoenix's roster depth that it has played at such a high level without Ayton. He is still an essential part of the team if they are going to accomplish their goals after reaching the NBA Finals last season. 

Ayton is averaging 17.0 points and 11.1 rebounds in 124 starts this season. His 101 defensive rating is the best of his career, per Basketball-Reference.com. Phoenix's defense ranks third in rating and fourth in points allowed per game (104.4). 

Suns head coach Monty Williams will likely use veteran JaVale McGee at center with the starting lineup until Ayton can return. Frank Kaminsky could also see playing time off the bench.