Deandre Ayton set to return Monday for Phoenix Suns after 5-game absence

Nov 15, 2021, 4:47 PM | Updated: 4:49 pm
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyot...
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on November 14, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams said center Deandre Ayton will play on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing five games due to a right leg contusion.

Ayton missed one game because of the injury before returning on Nov. 4. The fourth-year center, however, was ruled out the morning of Saturday’s win versus the Atlanta Hawks because of the same injury after originally not being on the injury report.

He was listed as doubtful on the injury report for the Suns’ last two games before earning a questionable designation heading into Monday’s game.

It is a good time for Ayton to return, as the Suns are on the last matchup of a three-game road trip featuring a trip out east (Memphis on Friday) before going south (Houston on Sunday) and going up north to Minnesota to conclude the stretch. Williams said Ayton will not be on his normal minute allotment, which is usually in the range of 30-34 minutes.

The fresh legs will be helpful against Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the best big men in basketball.

The predicament for Williams will be what he does with the rotation behind Ayton. Reserve center Frank Kaminsky has been sensational while stepping into the rotation during Ayton’s absence, but Ayton’s usual backup JaVale McGee is coming off his best game as a Sun and hasn’t been too shabby overall. McGee had 19 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in Sunday’s win over the Rockets.

Ayton in six games this season is averaging 14.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

The Suns look to stretch their eight-game winning streak to nine against the Timberwolves on Monday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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