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Suns’ Josh Jackson likely to join Marquese Chriss on sidelines vs. Houston

Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson (20) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX – With four days between games, the Phoenix Suns were hoping to get healthy. Instead, they’re more banged up now than they were prior to this extended break.

The Suns will be missing two players, and possibly a third, for their matchup with the Houston Rockets at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Friday, a game which will be played in front of a national television audience.

Starting forward Marquese Chriss and rookie forward Josh Jackson are both dealing with right hip strains, while point guard Isaiah Canaan has a left adductor strain.

Chriss has already been ruled out — Dragan Bender will start, his second of the season — while Jackson is officially listed questionable and Canaan is considered probable.

Jackson, however, told reporters following shootaround that he does not expect to play.

“The problem just comes when I try to go full speed and get up-and-down and try to defend guys, that’s where I really have a problem,” he said, before adding, “Missing a game is definitely not fun.”

Jackson, like Chriss, hurt himself in Sunday’s Oklahoma City game.

“It didn’t really hurt as bad during the game until we had the day off the next day,” he said, referring to Monday. “Kind of felt it that day and then we came in to practice the day after and I just felt shot. My leg just felt bad.”

It’s been nine days since Canaan last played. He got injured at Denver, did not play at San Antonio and was inactive against the Thunder.

Canaan, who’s had three different stints with the Rockets including one game earlier this season, hopes to be able to go against his former team.

“I actually feel fine,” he said. “Whatever the trainers think. They got my best interests. I’m about to go see how they feel and if they’re ready to let me go, then I’m ready.”

With the Suns shorthanded, forward Alec Peters is with the team. He will be active.

Peters is fresh off a 14-point, five-rebound performance with the Northern Arizona Suns on Tuesday in the NBA G League Showcase.

Meanwhile, the Rockets list six players as out for the game: forward Tarik Black (right eye corneal abrasion), guard James Harden (hamstring strain), forward Luc Mbah a Moute (right shoulder dislocation), center Nene (right knee contusion), forward Troy Williams (right knee MCL sprain) and forward Zhou Qi (right elbow).

This will be Harden’s sixth straight game missed.

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