Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton left Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons with an ankle injury diagnosed as a sprain.
Ayton left the game with 4:23 remaining in the first quarter. He had six points and two assists before exiting and was replaced by JaVale McGee.
The impending free agent is in the midst of a stellar 2021-22 season, with averages of 17.1 points and 11.0 rebounds. He seems like a mortal lock for a max contract this offseason when he hits restricted free agency after the Suns balked at reaching that number in rookie extension negotiations.
Ayton previously missed six games after being placed in health and safety protocols. He also missed two games with a non-COVID-19 illness.
McGee, who is averaging 12.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game as a starter this season, stands to see an uptick in minutes with Ayton out of the lineup.