Yuta Watanabe out for Suns vs. Jazz due to left quad contusion

Nov 19, 2023, 4:47 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2023, 12:38 pm

Yuta Watanabe #18 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of the NBA game against the Minn...

Yuta Watanabe #18 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Footprint Center on November 15, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 133-115. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns forward Yuta Watanabe missed Sunday’s Phoenix Suns double-overtime win in Utah against the Jazz due to a left quad contusion.

Watanabe has played in all 12 games this season, averaging 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

The sixth-year forward has been a consistent part of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation, beating out the likes of Keita Bates-Diop and Nassir Little in training camp for some of the wing minutes off the bench amongst the reserves.

It has been an inconsistent start to the season for Watanabe, as he’s shooting just 41.7% on his two pointers and 37.2% from deep, drops in his efficiency after a career year in Brooklyn and also lower numbers than you’d expect given the amount of those 3s that are wide-open looks. Watanabe has been better than expected defensively, although he’s prone to brain farts on both ends, like bad fouls or turnovers. Overall, he’s been solid, but not enough of a standout for Vogel to potentially look elsewhere in the rotation. In Friday’s win over Utah, Bates-Diop logged 20 minutes while Watanabe had 10.

Bates-Diop has been impressive to begin the year, including in a few starts, and Little’s been reliable in spot minutes when called upon. Both should see more playing time on Sunday.

Bradley Beal remains out due to his back while Phoenix is still without Damion Lee, who hasn’t played this season after having surgery on his knee.

The 6 p.m. tip off in Utah can be heard on ESPN 620 AM.

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Yuta Watanabe out for Suns vs. Jazz due to left quad contusion