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Suns guard Cameron Payne out for Suns due to right foot soreness

Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) shoots between Memphis Grizzlies guards Dillon Brooks (24) and Tyus Jones (21)in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Phoenix Suns point guard Cameron Payne is out for Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to right foot soreness. Payne was previously not on the injury report but was ruled out less than an hour before tip-off.

The 26-year-old missed two games because of a right ankle sprain in mid-January, and it would have been more had the Suns avoided three games being postponed. Payne returned when the team did on Jan. 18. In those four games, he did not look like the same impactful player.

Pre-injury Payne (9 games) – 17.8 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 TPG, 50.0 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 100.0 FT%

Post-injury Payne (4 games) – 16.8 MPG, 4.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 TPG, 31.3 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%

Payne in those nine games was one of the best reserve guards in the league, with the Suns’ second unit being the difference-maker in a handful of Phoenix’s wins.

Payne joins starting shooting guard Devin Booker (left hamstring strain) as out for the Suns, along with centers Dario Saric and Damian Jones, who are getting their conditioning up after clearing health and safety protocols.

With those bodies missing in Saturday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, Suns head coach Monty Williams started Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton. Wing Abdel Nader saw an increase in minutes, playing crunch time over Jevon Carter and Langston Galloway.

Williams stuck with that lineup on Wednesday.

Without Payne, the Suns don’t have a backup point guard. Carter has been more of an off-ball guard in Phoenix but could take those duties, while veteran E’Twaun Moore could also enter the rotation. Williams used a full stagger of Paul and Booker when Payne was out previously, but that’s obviously not an option Wednesday with Booker also sidelined.

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