PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Josh Okogie probable vs. Mavericks, Jusuf Nurkić remains out

Dec 24, 2023, 12:54 PM

Jusuf Nurkic, Phoenix Suns...

John Collins #20 of the Utah Jazz reaches for the ball with Jusuf Nurkic #20 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA In-Season Tournament game 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 center Jusuf Nurkić is listed as out for Monday’s Christmas game against the Mavericks due to personal reasons.

The Bosnian center also missed Friday’s loss in Sacramento. He will rejoin the team on Tuesday.

“It’s a human element,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said Sunday about Nurkić’s absence. “I mean you have to treat people the right way. And when you have something like this, you just want to be there for them and help them and make them understand that basketball is secondary to life and just be supportive. We expect him back soon and in some situations, basketball is definitely secondary.”

Before Friday’s absence, Nurkić started in all 27 games. The former Trail Blazer is averaging 12.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 46.4% from the field and 26.6% at 3-point range.

With Nurkić’s absence, the Suns could start either Drew Eubanks or Chimezie Metu at center in his place. On Friday, Eubanks started, but Metu has made two starts this season alongside Nurkić.

In addition, wing Josh Okogie has been upgraded to probable after missing the last five games because of a right hip strain.

Okogie hasn’t played since leaving Phoenix’s win over the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 12 with his hip injury. The wing started in 11 games this season.

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