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Phoenix Suns

Updated Apr 4, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Marcin Gortat wants to ‘take one last jump shot' before season ends

Atlanta Hawks' Jeff Teague, left, steals the ball from Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat, of Poland, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 1, 2013, in Phoenix (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Marcin Gortat timetable has changed, again.

After his foot surgery, the Phoenix Suns big man expressed some doubt about a return to the court this season. He then later insisted he would be back for the final two or three games.

Now, Gortat is aiming for a one-game cameo appearance before the season plays itself out.

"I would like to definitely step on the court, say good-bye to the fans (this season)," he said. "The perfect occasion, maybe, would be Houston game at home, the last game at home. Just step on the court, take one last jump shot and leave. That would be a probably great thing for me, but we'll see."

Gortat is four weeks removed from an MRI revealing a Lisfranc (midfoot) sprain in his right foot, an injury he sustained late in the first quarter against Toronto on March 6. Gortat was in a cast for four days before that was replaced with a walking boot.

The boot was removed Thursday morning.

"It feels really weird," he said about being out of the boot. "I got to learn to walk. I'm limping on my one leg. Basically, I don't have muscles in my one leg now so I have to rebuild it."

Gortat said he needs to work on strengthening the leg, which included him standing and shooting from 12-14 feet out after practice Thursday.

"It won't be good until he can come out there and get some rebounds and some dunks," interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said with smile.

The Suns are 2-12 without Gortat. They had won three straight and four of seven before he got hurt.

The undersized Suns could definitely use Gortat and his 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

But with seven games remaining, why, this late in the season, would he even entertain the thought of a return?

"I'm risking a lot," admitted Gortat, who will make $7.7 million in the final year of his contract next season.

"I want to finish the season mentally safe, I would say," he continued. "That if one day I want to go back and go play pickup games (this summer), I know I can go 100 percent. I can go and play 100 percent because I'm healthy. If I'm going to finish season not playing basketball, not showing up on the court, then I would have my doubts back in Orlando, back in Poland if I want to step on the court because I don't know if I'm ready. It would be definitely a better feeling if I could play a few minutes here and there at the end of the season."

With the boot off, Gortat said he will be sitting behind the bench Friday when the Suns host Golden State and some 300 Polish fans for the second annual Polish Heritage Night.

Gortat said he is feeling pressure to play for the national team again this summer.

"I'm going to do what's the best for me and my health," he said. "It might be a really tough decision."

About the Author


School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams

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