Deandre Ayton Won't Play for Suns vs. Trail Blazers Because of Knee Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2021

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 28: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a foul call during the second half of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 28, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Pistons defeated the Suns 113-111. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton won't play against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday because of left knee soreness, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic

Ayton has been a double-double machine since the Suns selected him with the first pick in the 2018 NBA draft, recording 62 of them in 109 games across his first two NBA seasons. He's put up 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 69 games during the 2020-21 campaign.

The 22-year-old Bahamas native has dealt with a series of ankle injuries, including several last season that limited him to 38 appearances.

Dario Saric could see an uptick in playing time if Ayton is sidelined longer. Frank Kaminsky and Jalen Smith are also candidates for more opportunities within the frontcourt rotation.

The Suns are near the top of the ranks in the loaded Western Conference, and Ayton is critical to reaching the ultimate goal in the postseason. With the playoffs around the corner, Phoenix needs to make sure he is as healthy as possible.