EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Kelly Oubre Jr. says it’s on Suns staff to decide if he can play in Orlando

Jul 14, 2020, 6:28 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) dunks against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half...

Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) dunks against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Phoenix. Phoenix won 100-92. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The status of Phoenix Suns wing Kelly Oubre Jr. has been a roller coaster over the last month, as we detailed in this space over the weekend.

The Suns denied the notion that Oubre was out for Orlando as previously reported and spoke on him continuing to rehab back from meniscus surgery in early March.

Oubre spoke for the first time since the surgery on Tuesday and said from Orlando his status is not up to him.

“Health status is up to the staff,” he said. “I feel fine.

“My main focus here is to support my teammates and continue to get better and be a leader. Everything else is out of my hands.”

Head coach Monty Williams elaborated on where Oubre’s currently at.

“There’s so many benchmarks for a guy like that coming off of a surgery,” he said Tuesday. “He’s totally healed, his body looks great but there’s still some things he would have to be comfortable doing. We would have to be comfortable based on our medical staff giving him the OK. But he looks great.”

One of those top benchmarks is getting back to scrimmaging 5-on-5, even playing 1-on-1 or 3-on-3. So there’s still a lot left on the checklist for Oubre before he can play.

Williams said it’s a “different” contribution they are getting from Oubre when it comes to his presence, as he’s doing most of his work off to the side.

With anyone who knows Oubre well, how he approaches the situation mentally is more important than anything else.

“For me it’s a mental thing,” he said. “Mentally, it’s a lot thrown at me in a short amount of time for me to get out there and resume high-level playing as everybody expects of me.”

Oubre has his own mentality on returning.

“I understand a lot of people want to see me play, but at the end of the day, you’d rather see Kelly Oubre come (back) on top of his game than Kelly Oubre being mediocre,” he said.

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