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Suns GM: ‘It probably is unlikely’ Tyson Chandler plays rest of season

Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler (4) flexes his muscles after dunking near Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns' General Manager

With 10 games left in the regular season, the banged-up Phoenix Suns are going to have to make some decisions.

One of those is how they want to treat Tyson Chandler, who in his 17th season has a couple of injuries that have accumulated over the course of the season.

Chandler played in just five of the Suns’ last 17 games and missed the previous four, leading to the question of whether he will play the rest of the season.

That’s up in the air, but general manager Ryan McDonough made it known on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo Wednesday that Chandler has not been outright shut down.

“Tyson is still practicing with our group,” he said. “His neck has been kinda off and on, something that’s been bothering him coming out of the All-Star break over the past month or so.”

That brought on conversations between Chandler and the front office.

“Tyson’s a very selfless guy,” McDonough said. “He really expressed an interest to us in giving Alex Len an opportunity to play and Alan Williams is playing [Wednesday night] in northern Arizona with the NAZ Suns in Prescott Valley.”

Len has started in the place of Chandler while Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss have seen more time playing center. Williams is on a rehab assignment in Prescott Valley as he continues to make his way back from knee surgery.

While re-affirming Chandler is still going through everything else outside of playing in the games, McDonough leaned more toward Chandler not playing when asked if he would for the remainder of the season.

“It probably is unlikely but we never say never,” he said.

With Chandler slated to make $13.5 million in the last year of this deal next season, it’s safe to say the Suns also want to tread lightly and make sure the 35-year-old can still effectively contribute in the 2018-19 season.

BOOKER’S HAND

As it appears the decision was on Chandler for how he wants to approach the rest of the season, that’s also how the Suns are handling Devin Booker’s right hand sprain.

Booker’s right hand has been a lingering issue over the past couple of months that was re-aggravated in practice recently. The Suns have had Booker test out his right hand in pregame warmups to see how he feels. He has missed the last two games after clearly being bothered by the hand in Utah when he shot 3-of-18.

With the Suns currently at the top of the standings for the NBA Draft Lottery, that will lead to some questioning if Phoenix is taking its time with letting its star player back, but McDonough wanted to make it clear that’s not the case.

“We’ve left that decision totally up to him whether to play or not,” he said.

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