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Suns’ Ricky Rubio optimistic about returning, Aron Baynes out

From left, Phoenix Suns guards Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio and Tyler Johnson look on from the bench as time runs out in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 116-104. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have managed to stay afloat while day-to-day injuries for two of their most important players have had them shorthanded.

Ricky Rubio (back spasms) has missed the last three games after trying to give it a go against the Sacramento Kings when he missed the game prior against the Boston Celtics while Aron Baynes (right hip flexor strain) has missed the past four.

Rubio was optimistic after Tuesday’s practice that he will return and the injury report backed it up, with him being listed as probable for Wednesday’s game at home against the Washington Wizards.

The long-time veteran gave some insight as to what has been happening with his back.

“The day before (against the Celtics) it felt a little tight and then I wanted to push it, but right before the game, it really got stiff, didn’t get looser,” he said after practice Tuesday.

“The same thing happened [Tuesday in Sacramento] but I wanted to play, I wanted to try it out, but it didn’t work. I didn’t feel good at all. I [wamted] to make sure that everything was fine before. Sometimes when the muscle gets tight, all you need is time, and we don’t have a lot of time in the NBA.”

“Missing somebody like him is tough,” Devin Booker said. “It gives us a whole different dynamic and was a reason for a lot of our success early.”

Baynes, on the other hand, wasn’t even given a questionable or doubtful label. He’s out.

“We’ll see with Aron,” general manager James Jones said Tuesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo. “Aron’s responded well but he’s not there yet. He’s getting close but we don’t want to push it. We’re not forcing it.”

Regardless of either key veteran returning, the Suns are happy to be out of a week where they played five games in seven days. That included two back-to-backs, including one strictly on the road over the weekend.

But even with bodies missing and that run of games, Monty Williams didn’t want that being used when it came to what they saw on film that needed to be cleaned up from the 1-4 stretch.

“Five (games) in seven (days) can be an excuse but the discipline and the fundamentals have to remain,” he said. “I think our guys are more than up to the task.”


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