PHOENIX SUNS

Phoenix Suns to have Ayton, Crowder, McGee all active vs. Heat

Jan 7, 2022, 3:49 PM | Updated: Jan 8, 2022, 1:43 pm

The Phoenix Suns are set to have Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and JaVale McGee all active against the Miami Heat on Saturday, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

The trio of players had spent time under the league’s health and safety protocols during the league’s COVID-19 outbreak in December.

Ayton and Crowder had missed five games in a row to isolate while McGee was at home for three. All three players returned to the team on Wednesday out of the protocols but were out for Thursday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers to get their conditioning back.

The return of Ayton, Crowder and McGee will be welcomed for the Suns, who went deep into their rotation without them. With both centers out of the rotation, along with Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky rehabbing long-term injuries, second-year big Jalen Smith started in their place while recent signing Bismack Biyombo filled in off the bench.

Biyombo originally signed a 10-day contract under the hardship exemption before signing with the team for the rest of the season.

Crowder’s absence left the Suns shorthanded on the wing, where Phoenix turned to more three-guard lineups. That got even more difficult without Landry Shamet, who went into the protocols before Tuesday’s victory in New Orleans.

Saturday’s game in Phoenix against Miami is a 7 p.m. tip-off you can hear on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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