Phoenix Suns center Miles Plumlee sprained his right knee in practice last week and played through the pain — up until missing his first game of the season Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek confirmed Thursday that the Suns center will also miss the team’s evening matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder at US Airways Center.
“Give him a couple more days. We’ve got two days after this one before our next one (Sunday on the road against Golden State),” the coach said. “So we’ll use that (time off) and try to get him ready for that one.
“We’re going through a stretch here with these good teams in our March schedule with a lot of games. It’s not going to do us any good for him to be kind of limping through it and not have his full explosion. So, better to try to get him totally healthy.”
The 6-foot-11 center has impressed in his first true shot at regular minutes in the NBA. He is averaging 8.6 points and 8.3 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per game in his second year as a pro. In Hornacek’s first season with the team, the coach said Plumlee is probably the biggest individual surprise he’s seen.
However, the big man was showing signs of slowing down — even before suffering the injury. In February, Plumlee only managed 5.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on 44.8 percent shooting, and his minutes dropped down to 21.9 per contest.
In Plumlee’s absence Thursday, rookie Alex Len looks to get the second start of his career. The 7-foot-1 Maryland product posted six rebounds and six blocks in 19 minutes Tuesday against the Clippers.