Phoenix Suns wing Kelly Oubre Jr. is expected to be out the rest of the season to continue rehabbing after meniscus surgery, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Oubre tore his right meniscus in late February and had successful surgery to repair it on March 3. He was to be re-evaluated in four weeks, but that was before the quarantine hit for coronavirus, and Oubre spent the majority of his rehab process isolated away from the medical staff at home.
Suns owner Robert Sarver said on June 4 that he expected Oubre to return in Orlando for the rest of the team’s season.
“Yes,” he said on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. “I expect he will play, yes.”
Suns general manager James Jones said in mid-April that Oubre was through his “healing process” but was “stuck” in his rehab process because of the quarantine.
Oubre is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season, shooting 45.2% from the field and a career-high 35.2% from the three-point line.
After signing a new two-year contract last offseason, the 2020-21 season is Oubre’s contract year, and an accelerated NBA timeline of the league ending the regular season in mid-August and returning in early December would be a good reason for Oubre to be cautious.
If Oubre is out of the fold, the Suns’ highly successful five-man lineup of Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Oubre, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton that was recently starting games will not be available in Orlando. That opens the door for the potential return of Dario Saric back in the starting lineup and more minutes for rookie first-round pick Cam Johnson on the wing.
The Suns are involved in the league’s planned 22-team restart at Walt Disney World, with six Western Conference teams fighting for two spots in a play-in for the eighth and final playoff spot out West. That battle includes the Suns, who are 2.5 games out of the ninth position in the standings.
With the Suns having five teams ahead of them, it wouldn’t be surprising for them to pull back on some players’ involvement, especially in the back-half of the schedule when they could already be eliminated.