Suns F Kelly Oubre Jr. undergoes thumb surgery, out for year

Mar 22, 2019, 1:55 PM | Updated: 2:12 pm
Kelly Oubre Jr. #3 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game against the Houston Ro...
Kelly Oubre Jr. #3 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game against the Houston Rockets at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 04, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. is out for the remainder of the 2018-19 season after undergoing a procedure on his sprained left thumb, the team announced in a press release Friday.

Oubre’s recovery time is expected to be four to six weeks, according to the release. The Suns’ season will end April 9 against the Dallas Mavericks.

“My angle in my mind and my perspective is we feel bad about it because he was, especially lately, a big part of our team and big part of our offense,” Kokoskov said after the team’s shootaround Thursday.

“There’s never a good time to lose a player, especially a player who’s been a significant [presence] and one of our starters, but that’s the basketball life and that’s the NBA season. Staying healthy is a huge part of having a successful season.”

With Oubre’s status as a restricted free agent, the Suns will enter the offseason expected to strongly consider re-signing him after he averaged 20 points and 5.7 rebounds per game since head coach Igor Kokoskov inserted him into the starting lineup following the All-Star break.

Oubre could garner enough attention to receive a contract worth around $15 million annually after his strong showing since departing Washington, but Phoenix will have the ability to match any offer.

The 23-year-old expressed hope that he could remain with the Suns when he joined Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station earlier this month.

“Why would I go anywhere else?” Oubre said when asked if Phoenix was his preferred destination across the entire NBA. “I’m here, I’m getting established and I’m not a guy that really wants to be on a million teams in my tenure in the league and I just want to create a dynasty and a legacy here in Phoenix with [Deandre Ayton], [Devin Booker], [Mikal Bridges], all the guys in the locker room. It’s beautiful.”

Oubre is averaging 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 45 percent shooting since joining the Suns in a pre-trade deadline deal with the Washington Wizards.

Phoenix sent forward Trevor Ariza to Washington in the trade a day after a three-team deal between the two squads and the Grizzlies was botched on a misunderstanding of which players — MarShon Brooks or Dillon Brooks — were to be sent to the Suns from Memphis.

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