PHOENIX SUNS

Kevin Durant out for Suns vs. Grizzlies due to right foot soreness

Nov 24, 2023, 1:43 PM

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns looks on before an NBA In-Season Tournament game against the U...

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns looks on before an NBA In-Season Tournament game against the Utah Jazz at Delta Center on November 17, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant is out for Friday afternoon’s matchup in Memphis against the Grizzlies due to right foot soreness.

Durant was initially not on the team’s injury report released on Thursday evening but popped up on it Friday morning as questionable.

Durant has played in all 15 games for Phoenix this season and is off to a fantastic start, averaging 31.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 4.0 turnovers and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 53.3% from the field and 52.2% at 3-point range.

With past injuries for Devin Booker and the current injury for Bradley Beal (low back strain), Durant has been playing a high level of minutes. He entered Friday tied for third in minutes per game at 36.9. While Durant’s career average is 36.7 and he was just at 37.2 two seasons ago, Phoenix would surely like to bump that down a tick or two for the 35-year-old. Outside of the Suns’ double-overtime win on Sunday in which Durant played 44, Durant’s other recent minute totals in the last five games have been 34, 37, 33 and 35.

Without Durant, the Suns will start Keita Bates-Diop in his place. Wing Nassir Little should get more minutes too. He has recently emerged in the rotation while Yuta Watanabe (left quad contusion) has been out.

In addition to Beal, Durant and Watanabe missing the game, so will backup center Drew Eubanks after he rolled his ankle in Wednesday’s win over the Golden State Warriors. Chimezie Metu will likely see time in that role.

Phoenix plays its last game of group play for the in-season tournament on Friday. At 2-1 in Group A that was already won by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Suns are competing for the one wild card spot in the Western Conference.

It is a near certainty they will not only have to win on Friday but expand their point differential, the tiebreaker in the standings. Phoenix’s is +13 and other teams in contention for the spot will have the advantage of knowing what the Suns’ number is. They will finish before the likes of the Denver Nuggets (2-1), Sacramento Kings (2-0), Minnesota Timberwolves (2-0), Warriors (1-1) and Houston Rockets (1-1).

The 3 p.m. tip off can be heard on ArizonaSports.com, 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app.

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