With every day that passes, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe gets one step closer to a return from knee surgery.
Monday, he did some 3-on-3 drills at practice, getting a chance to actually play a little basketball.
“It felt great,” he said after the workout.
A guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said his point guard looked good Monday, but conditioning is going to be a big issue.
After all, there’s a big difference between what Bledsoe did Monday and what he’d be asked to do in a real game.
“He looks like he has the quickness he had before, but when you start going up and down the court, we want to make sure that he’s in condition,” he said. “That’s usually when guys get hurt, when they’re tired. They are pressing a little bit.
“I don’t know what that time frame is going to be. We’ll continue to push him a little bit harder every single day, see if we can get him into that shape. When we see that, the trainers will probably give him the green light to go.”
If and when that does happen, the Suns will get a player who was playing 33.5 minutes per game and averaging 18.0 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in his first season as a full-time starter.
But whether or not he’ll return to a starting role has yet to be determined, though Hornacek is leaning toward having the 24-year-old come off the bench, at least in the beginning.
“I don’t know if he’ll have a minutes restriction or not, but still, after not playing for six, eight weeks, whatever it’s going to be,” the coach said. “You can’t just throw him in there and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to play your 35 minutes again.’
“That’s probably too much to ask of somebody coming off the surgery and coming back into it.”
However, Hornacek added — with a chuckle — that if Bledsoe is playing really well it would be tough to take him off the floor, regardless of what his intentions are for the guard today.