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Suns expecting returns of Baynes, Saric, Ayton from injury on Friday

The Phoenix Suns stand attended for the national anthem before NBA game against the Sacramento Kings at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The timing of the All-Star break was great for the Phoenix Suns, who haven’t been able to field their full expected roster and rotation for most of the season because of injuries and a suspension for Deandre Ayton.

They won’t be all the way there on Friday in Toronto for the team’s first game back, but Deandre Ayton, Dario Saric and Aron Baynes are expected to return.

“Outside of Frank Kaminsky I expect all the rest of our guys will be ready,” Suns general manager James Jones told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Tuesday.

Ayton missed two games because of left ankle soreness, not including the Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend that he was supposed to be a part of as well.

The two pieces the team has been missing the longest outside of Kaminsky, who will miss his 23rd game in a row on Friday, are Baynes and Saric.

Baynes has missed the last 13 games for the team due to left hip soreness.

The 33-year-old played by far the largest minutes of his career when starting in place of the suspended Ayton at the start of the season, averaging 25.3 minutes a night over 11 games when his career average is 15.7.

Unsurprisingly, that led to a right hip flexor strain that had him miss five games. After returning for only one game, he missed another four due to a left calf strain.

Baynes played for 20 straight games after that, but through a mix of starting in place of Ayton, with Ayton and coming off the bench, he looked nothing like the impact player he was in the first month of the season. Once again on high minutes, that brought on the left hip soreness.

As for Saric, he has missed the last seven games because of a left ankle sprain and had now been playing in a new role as backup power forward to new starter Mikal Bridges.

Even when accepting that the Suns will be without Kaminsky, it’s the most full-strength lineup the Suns have had since the season opener, and even in that one, they were without Cam Johnson and Ty Jerome.

It’s as good of a time as any for that.

“That’s good to have the whole team for the stretch run because it’s important how we come out of the break and it’s really important how we finish these last 27 games,” Jones said.

Burns & Gambo

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