Suns backup point guard Cam Payne ‘good for Game 1’ after knee issue

Apr 13, 2022, 2:21 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2022, 4:46 pm

Point guard Cam Payne expects to be available on Sunday when the Phoenix Suns open their first-round playoff series.

He’s coming off a two-game absence due to right knee soreness and hasn’t played since April 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers, giving him 11 days of rest by the time Phoenix hosts a to-be-determined opponent at Footprint Center.

“It’s feeling good,” Payne told reporters after practice on Wednesday. “We’ll be good for Game 1. I’m fine, knee’s fine.”

Before going through a full practice Wednesday, Payne was in the gym Tuesday and had the pop that’d been lacking, head coach Monty Williams told reporters.

The backup to starter Chris Paul said he first felt the knee issue pop up on April 5 in a win against the Los Angeles Lakers. He appeared the next night against the Clippers but grew more concerned about the injury after that game.

“It kind of started against the Lakers. It kind of started that morning … it didn’t really get better,” Payne said. “Clipper game, I went to go shoot a layup and my leg kind of gave out on me. I made the shot but my leg gave out. I kind of knew there, ah, it’s really bothering me, it’s in my head now.”

The Suns split their last two games with Aaron Holiday and Elfrid Payton earning minutes without Payne.

Phoenix beat the Utah Jazz on April 8 and then in the season finale fell to the Sacramento Kings on April 10.

“I think the days off really helped (Payne),” head coach Monty Williams said. “Now he’s got to get himself back to the conditioning piece. We’ll get up and down, play some five-on-five tomorrow, so hopefully, that will help.”

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