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Kelly Oubre Jr.’s status a mystery after reportedly being out for Orlando

Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. reacts after a foul call against him during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in Phoenix. The Trail Blazers won 111-110. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Here’s what we know.

Phoenix Suns wing Kelly Oubre Jr. was “expected” to be out for the team’s eight games in Orlando as he continues to rehab after meniscus surgery in early March, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania on June 17. 

This follows owner Robert Sarver stating on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo June 4 that he believes Oubre will play.

“Yes,” he said. “I expect he will play, yes.”

Alright, that was just a mixup. It’s fine. Those happen. So, like, he’s out, right?

Well, the team hasn’t officially stated as much as they typically would through a release or whathaveyou. So, as the journalists do, the question came for head coach Monty Williams the next time he was available.

“I can’t answer the question about Kelly because I don’t know the medical side and his personal needs and that kind of thing,” Williams said on July 1. “I think that’s something you may have to ask (general manager) James (Jones) about.”

OK! We’ll ask James then!

“Kelly’s been here and rehabbing and so my expectation for him is the same as any other player: come in every day, practice with the team, work and compete and get yourself in a position to play and hopefully that’s before Orlando hits,” he said on July 6.

Hmmmm.

Jones said during that same availability that not all players would be traveling with the team to Walt Disney World the next day but Charania’s report noted that Oubre would be traveling with the team.

Through the wonders of social media, Oubre was seen getting on the plane and was later sharing his bubble hotel room look on Instagram.

Right. So he’s there. Is he practicing?

Let’s check that ole’ social media again!

Aha! There he is! With a basketball! Let’s ask coach again, then.

“He does a little bit of court work but for the most part he’s on the side rehabbing and trying to get himself in tip-top (shape),” Williams said Saturday. “He’s in good shape, but he’s not in the type of game shape that he wants to be in. He’s healthy, he looks great, body looks great, he’s got his bounce.”

From that one answer, it sounds like there’s a decent chance Oubre could play. They’ve got two more weeks still to ramp up. I mean, that’s at least how I interpret it. You’re here with me seeing all I’ve seen, so make the call for yourself.

A decent hypothesis based off this information and logic is that Oubre was indeed “expected” to be out in mid-June, and that very well could be the case, but he’s working through it with the team to 1) get back to 100% anyway and 2) on the off-chance he recovers quicker than expected and is good to go.

Keep your detective hats on the next few weeks, everyone.


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