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Suns PG Tyler Johnson undergoes knee surgery, done for year

Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Johnson (16) looks to pass the ball as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Johnson is out for the remaining three games of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday.

A midseason trade acquisition from the Miami Heat, Johnson appeared in 13 games for the Suns, starting 12 at point guard. He finishes the year averaging 11.1 points and 4.2 assists on 37 percent shooting as a member of the Suns.

Johnson last appeared on March 13 in a loss to the Utah Jazz. He joins Kelly Oubre Jr. and Devin Booker ending the year out due to injury.

Deandre Ayton and T.J. Warren are also currently injured but have yet to be shut down.

The undrafted 26-year-old in his fourth year out of Fresno State has one year and $19.2 million left on his contract for next season.

On Feb. 6, Phoenix traded forward Ryan Anderson to Miami in exchange for Johnson and guard Wayne Ellington, the latter of whom was promptly released.

As it stands, Johnson, a combo guard by nature, will be relied upon to a great degree next season. Despite his short stint learning coach Igor Kokoskov’s offense, he quickly developed a rapport with his new team. With a starting lineup of Johnson, Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Dragan Bender and Deandre Ayton, Phoenix won four of the last six games it played before Johnson’s knee injury.

Since, Phoenix has gone 2-8 down the stretch, suffering season-ending injuries to Johnson, Oubre (thumb) and now Booker, whose sprained ankle will keep him out of the final three games, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Barring trades, the Suns will return rookies De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo at point guard next season and with one of the three worst records in the league could end up in territory to select Murray State’s Ja Morant, who is considered a top-three prospect.

Even in those scenarios, Johnson could carry a valuable role if the Suns hope to parlay their brief glimpses of success this year into next. At the very least, his big contract could be used as a valuable asset if Phoenix’s front office attempts to trade for a star player.


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