PHOENIX SUNS

Suns coach Monty Williams clears protocols, reportedly to rejoin team

Jan 4, 2022, 8:48 AM | Updated: 9:50 am

Head coach Monty Williams will rejoin his Phoenix Suns on Tuesday in New Orleans as they prepare to play the Pelicans, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Williams has missed four games after entering the league’s health and safety protocols on Dec. 27.

Associate head coach Kevin Young led an undermanned basketball team to a 2-2 record in place of Williams.

Phoenix, at 28-8, still holds the second-best record in the NBA behind the 29-7 Golden State Warriors.

Williams’ time on the protocol list came after forward Jae Crowder and guard Elfrid Payton entered the COVID-19 protocols. Since, centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, plus wing Abdel Nader, have been sidelined.

Payton is the only player who has returned from the health and safety protocols, according to the latest injury report Tuesday morning.

With four players away from the team, the Suns have signed five free agents to 10-day hardship deals: Forward Emanuel Terry, forward Paris Bass, wing Justin Jackson, guard M.J. Walker and center Bismack Biyombo. Phoenix on Tuesday waived Terry to sign Jackson.

Guard Devin Booker has taken on a more aggressive role with his team down several rotation players and is averaging 28.5 points in the past four games.

Second-year big man Jalen Smith has additionally taken advantage of more playing time, averaging 16 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in the four outings as a rotation player.

The Suns face the Pelicans at 6 p.m. Tuesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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