Suns’ Nassir Little describes head injury after McGee collision: ‘I feel like it was a dirty play’

Dec 15, 2023, 5:37 PM | Updated: 5:40 pm

Phoenix Suns' Nassir Little...

Sacramento Kings' JaVale McGee (00) and Phoenix Suns' Nassir Little (25) hold their faces after colliding during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Phoenix Suns forward Nassir Little is waiting to feel his face again.

Little came out of last Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings after the opening quarter due to a head injury he suffered on a collision with Kings big man JaVale McGee while going for a rebound. Little missed the following game (concussion/orbital fracture) but returned Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets with a protective mask.

McGee, a former Sun, jumped into Little and they hooked arms. Little told reporters on Friday he felt it was a dirty play after watching it “over and over.”

“(McGee) hooked my arm and maybe he was trying to sell a foul … I could have broke my arm after I watched it back a couple times,” Little said. “He hooked me, he fell, so I had his weight combined with my own going to the ground, and as I fell I hit (Chimezie Metu’s) hip, thigh area. Initially you could see how I was on the floor, I was grabbing my face. I didn’t know how serious it was at the moment.”

Little stayed down for a possession, disoriented. He said he was trying to go back in during the ensuing quarter break, but something did not feel right. He started losing feeling in his lip and cheek, his head started hurting and he felt sick.

The first-year Suns player described the facial injury as a non-displaced orbital fracture, so surgery was not needed. He just has to wait it out to heal and feel normal again, which can take weeks.

In the meantime, Little will continue to get comfortable wearing the mask, which presents a challenge for him to see himself dribbling the ball.

“It’s just a little weird, it kinda feels like if you’ve ever watched a movie with the wide screen, it kinda looks like I’m playing a game through that lens,” Little described. “… I think as I play, I’ll be able to start figuring out how to get by.”

Little also spent time in concussion protocol last season with the Portland Trail Blazers.

He is available for Phoenix’s Friday night game against the New York Knicks after playing 27 minutes on Wednesday.

The Suns will have more depth on Friday with Grayson Allen (groin) returning to fit in alongside the Big 3 of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal.

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Suns’ Nassir Little describes head injury after McGee collision: ‘I feel like it was a dirty play’