As if the Phoenix Suns needed any additional concerns, Bahamian center DeAndre Ayton left their game on Tuesday night, suffering from an ankle injury. The Suns (16-12) fell to the last-place Houston Rockets (9-18), 111-97, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The Rockets bring up the rear in the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Ayton picked up the injury just before halftime on a Suns’ fastbreak opportunity. He was streaking down the middle of the paint when he collected a pass from Torrey Craig and was about to make a layup. It was at that point when he collided with Rockets guard Kevin Porter and rolled his left ankle on Porter’s right foot. Ayton grabbed that ankle right away and got on the floor and shook his head in pain. The big man limped off the court and into the locker room. He was ruled out for the rest of the game.
The Rockets was up 52-33 with 1:07 left in the first half when Ayton exited the game. The extent of the injury was not known up to press time, but he is listed as day-to-day. Ankle injuries have prevented him from playing on three previous occasions.
The Suns also lost backup point guard Cameron Payne in that game. Coming into the game on Tuesday night, they were without All-NBA guard Devin Booker and forward Cameron Johnson. Ayton’s, Payne’s and Booker’s injuries came after they got veteran point guard Chris Paul back, who was out for 14 games.
Ayton left the game after playing just 15 minutes. He scored five points and grabbed five rebounds. It was an abnormal night for him, percentage wise, as he made just two of his 10 shot attempts up to that point. He made his only attempt from the free throw line.
Ayton has played 26 games this season and has started all. He is averaging 17 points per game to go along with 9.5 rebounds while shooting at a clip of 61.9 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the charity stripe. He is averaging 28.9 minutes per contest.
Coming into the game Tuesday night, Ayton had scored 20 or more points in seven of his last 10 games. He also grabbed 10 or more rebounds in seven of the last 10.
The Suns have lost five straight games and six of their last seven. They lost back-to-back games to the New Orleans Pelicans, twice to the Rockets and once each to the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics.
The Suns will play their final game in their four-game road stretch today when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers (16-13) at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California. That game is set for 10:30 p.m. and will be televised on NBA TV.