Dario Saric out for Suns’ season opener vs. Mavericks

Dec 23, 2020, 12:10 PM
Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns argues for possession in front of Patrick Beverley #21 of the L...
Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns argues for possession in front of Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers during the first half at Staples Center on December 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns big man Dario Saric is out for Wednesday’s season opener against the Dallas Mavericks due to soreness in his right quad.

Saric missed the entire preseason due to the injury. He said on Monday that, if he had to guess, he’d be out another week.

Head coach Monty Williams has said throughout the preseason that Saric’s status is day-to-day and he has been progressing. The Suns had a handful of players dealing with soreness leading into the season, as to be expected with a short ramp-up of 17 days from the team’s first practice until opening night.

The absence of Saric is notable for a Phoenix team that will be relying on him and forward Cam Johnson to be interchangeable pieces off the bench with the starters. On top of that, the Suns do not have reliable depth in the big man rotation beyond Saric.

Fifth-year center Damian Jones and first-round pick Jalen Smith were the first picks off the bench with Saric out. Jones has failed to build consistency in four seasons worthy enough of a rotation spot on a team, while Smith’s preseason play has shown a rookie who needs to acclimate to the pace of the NBA game, as Williams has also said a few times.

Also out are wing Abdel Nader (concussion protocol) and big man Frank Kaminsky (health and safety protocols). Nader took a rough fall in the Dec. 14 preseason loss to the Jazz. Kaminsky was claimed off waivers Monday and has to go through some COVID-19 protocols before joining the team.

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