Suns’ Dario Saric returns in FIBA play for 1st time since knee injury

Aug 25, 2022, 3:02 PM | Updated: 3:03 pm

(YouTube screenshot/FIBA Basketball)...

(YouTube screenshot/FIBA Basketball)

(YouTube screenshot/FIBA Basketball)

Phoenix Suns center Dario Saric has returned to competitive basketball this summer for the first time since knee surgery and tearing his ACL in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals.

Saric will be competing for Croatia in FIBA play. After some friendlies earlier in August, Saric had nine points, nine rebounds, six assists and a steal in 28 minutes of a FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifier against Poland.

The 28-year-old is in tremendous physical shape and looks to be a step or two quicker, a welcome sight for the Suns.

Croatia has one more of these games on Sunday, the beginning of its process of qualifying for the 2025 iteration of the European tournament.

Sunday’s fixture will follow the real deal on Sept. 2, the beginning of FIBA EuroBasket 2022. Croatia starts with a tough test versus Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece and is also in a group with Estonia, Ukraine, Great Britain and Italy.

After Saric’s ACL injury all the way back in July 2021, the Suns announced in May that he had a successful arthroscopic procedure done to the meniscus of his right knee. Head coach Monty Williams said Saric was still ramping up in his recovery from the ACL injury and couldn’t speak on the timeline of the meniscus injury and if it was a rehab setback since those can sometimes be there without someone even knowing.

Regardless, Saric looks great now and projects to be a big part of Phoenix’s rotation next season after the departure of backup center JaVale McGee in free agency.

Saric is in the final year of a three-year, $27 million contract he signed with Phoenix. He was originally acquired by the Suns during the 2019 NBA Draft in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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