Oh, the wonders of modern medicine. After reportedly being ruled out for the remainder of the season last month by Stadium’s Shams Charania, Phoenix Suns SF Kelly Oubre Jr. looks like he may be back to play the final eight games of the season.
According to Oubre, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in March, the call will ultimately be up to the Suns medical staff.
“I’m [in Orlando] to get better,” Oubre told reporters on Tuesday. “Constantly getting better with my guys each and every day. Health status is up to the staff. I feel fine. But my main focus here is to support my teammates, get better and be a leader. Everything else is out of my hands.”
Oubre remains adamant that he ventured to the Orlando “bubble” to practice with the team and receive treatment from the team medical staff. However, it is notable that the team is yet to sign a “substitute” player. So coach Monty Williams is likely still holding out hope for Oubre’s return.
“He’s totally healed, his body looks great but there’s still some things he would have to be comfortable doing,” Williams said Tuesday. “We would have to be comfortable based on our medical staff giving him the OK. But he looks great.”
Oubre would be an obvious boost to the Suns in this eight-game run. The 24 year old was in the midst of easily his best season as a pro. In 56 games, he averaged a career-high 18.7 points on excellent efficiency, while grabbing 6.4 rebounds and playing solid defense.
His athleticism — a key part of his game — would likely take a hit after knee surgery. But the wing spot isn’t exactly deep for Phoenix.
Second-year man Mikal Bridges would retain the larger role he developed right before the hiatus. He has had good efficiency but on low volume.
Rookie Cam Johnson would see more of the court, which could be good for the Suns. The 11th overall pick in last years’ draft saw solid improvement over the season, and scored a career-high 21 points against the defending champion Raptors in his latest appearance for the squad.
Regardless of what the medical staff says, it’ll be an interesting situation for Suns fans to keep an eye on in the bubble. Phoenix’s odds of advancing past the eight seeding games are miniscule, so will coach Williams let Oubre rest while giving Bridges and Johnson a bigger part of the offenese? Or does Williams go for gold and put the electrifying duo of Oubre and Devin Booker in the limelight?
Austin covers the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Chargers for OT Heroics. Follow him on Twitter @AustinTurner_ . For more coverage on the NBA, check out the rest of the great content on Overtime Heroics.