Jae Crowder out for Phoenix Suns vs. Rockets due to sore groin

Mar 16, 2022, 4:05 PM
Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) passes around Brooklyn Nets forward Kessler Edwards (14) duri...

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) passes around Brooklyn Nets forward Kessler Edwards (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder was a late addition to the team’s injury report and is out for Wednesday’s matchup in Houston against the Rockets.

Head coach Monty Williams mentioned Crowder was out in an unrelated question during his pregame media availability. Williams was then asked what the deal was with Crowder.

“Sore groin,” Williams said. “That’s it. We’re just being smart with him. It’s just that time of the year where minutes are piling up.”

Crowder was not on the Suns’ initial injury reports from Wednesday afternoon after a road win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

In Phoenix’s Twitter post prior to the game, the injury designation for Crowder was left groin soreness.

Williams admitted Crowder’s minutes have been higher lately than where he would like them. In Phoenix’s 11 games since the All-Star break, Crowder is at 26.8 minutes per game. But from Feb. 25 to March 9, Crowder reached 30 minutes in five of his six games.

Those minutes, of course, are up there because of the continued absence of wing Cam Johnson, who will miss his seventh straight game on Wednesday because of a right quad contusion.

The 31-year-old Crowder has the unique distinction of being the only player in the NBA that played the two longest seasons possible during the league’s shortened years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He reached the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat in 2020 and Phoenix the year after. Crowder has been open with the media about how he had points in the 2020-21 season with the Suns when his body was worn down and that it required a proper mindset to overcome.

Without Crowder and Johnson, two-way wing Ish Wainright will likely step into the rotation. Torrey Craig could move into the starting lineup to replace Crowder or Williams could look to maintain the second unit’s chemistry and start the rookie Wainright. Williams mentioned he could play Bismack Biyombo in dual-center looks he has used from time to time.

Crowder this season is averaging 9.6 points, 5.3 rebounds. 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. While his shooting percentage is at a similarly low point of 40.6% that it was last season (40.4%), the veteran is an invaluable starter due to his basketball IQ, savvy and toughness, maintaining the shape of the Suns’ offense and defense.

Wednesday’s tip-off in Houston is set for 5 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM HD-2.

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