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.

Penguin Air

Empire of the Suns

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Deandre Ayton still Suns’ priority, says GM: ‘We want to keep it together’

Suns general manager James Jones said nothing has changed on the Deandre Ayton front over the past several weeks, from his seat at least.
2 days ago
General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...
Kellan Olson

GM James Jones clarifies ESPN article on Phoenix Suns’ draft strategy

Suns GM James Jones clarified an ESPN article that painted a detailed picture of the team's unorthodox practices in the NBA Draft.
2 days ago
NBA draft prospects pose for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, center, before the start of...
Kevin Zimmerman

NBA Draft live blog: Pistons deal for C Jalen Duren in trade-heavy night

Visit ArizonaSports.com for Phoenix Suns coverage as they stand pat without a draft pick or move into the Thursday action.
2 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter at Crypto.com Arena on April 06, 2022 ...
Kellan Olson

Cam Johnson ready for upcoming process, extension talks with Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson discussed the contract extension he is eligible to receive this offseason and how he's approaching it.
3 days ago
Jamaree Bouyea #1 of the San Francisco Dons makes a move along the baseline while being defended by...
Kellan Olson

2022 NBA Draft targets for Phoenix Suns: Projected undrafted sleepers

Could the Phoenix Suns find a rotation player in the undrafted rookie free agent market after the 2022 NBA Draft?
5 days ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Ish Wainright #12 after scoring against the Dallas...
Kellan Olson

Deandre Ayton’s Suns teammates want RFA C back, supporting him

A few of Deandre Ayton's teammates expressed support for him and a desire for the restricted free agent to stay with the Suns.
4 days ago
Kelly Oubre Jr. says it’s on Suns staff to decide if he can play in Orlando