Suns guard Cam Payne out with sore back for Game 3 vs. Clippers

Apr 20, 2023, 5:35 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm

Phoenix Suns guard Cam Payne...

Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns passes the ball during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on November 22, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns guard Cam Payne is out for Thursday’s Game 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers as he continues to nurse a sore lower back, the team announced.

“He’s just not ready,” head coach Monty Williams told reporters pregame.

The injury caused Payne to miss Games 1 and 2 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs, in which the Suns split with Clippers 1-1 at Footprint Center in Phoenix.

The Suns missed the backup point guard in Game 1 as the bench put up only 10 points compared to the Clippers’ 34 points in a 115-110 loss.

Payne averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game this season and played an average of 20.2 minutes per contest in 48 games.

The 28-year-old fell on his lower back during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 7, a 121-107 loss.

Despite being ruled out for Games 1 and 2, Payne still participated in pregame warmups prior to both contests.

Clippers’ star Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for Game 3 due to a right knee sprain, which he aggravated in Game 1 and played through in Game 2, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

However, Wojnarowski adds that Leonard is expected to be day-to-day prior to Saturday’s Game 4 in L.A.

Paul George (sprained right knee) remains out for the Clippers in Game 3 and is reportedly expected to miss the entire first round.

It was the first Game 1 defeat for the Suns under head coach Monty Williams as they look to take the lead in the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 tips off from Arena in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and, with the pregame show slated for 6 p.m.

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