Suns’ Jusuf Nurkic to return vs. Lakers; Bradley Beal remains out

Feb 25, 2024, 11:50 AM | Updated: 12:53 pm

Jusuf Nurkic...

Jusuf Nurkic #20 of the Phoenix Suns after a 127-109 Suns win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Arena on January 11, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic is good to return for Sunday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers after sitting out a loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday with a right ankle sprain.

Eric Gordon (groin soreness) was listed as questionable after playing on Friday, but head coach Frank Vogel told reporters pregame the veteran would not go. Bradley Beal (hamstring tightness) and Damion Lee (meniscus surgery) both remain out.

Lakers stars LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) were both questionable on the injury report but will play. Los Angeles has already ruled out Jarred Vanderbilt (foot sprain), Gabe Vincent (knee surgery) and Christian Wood (knee effusion).

After Friday, the Suns are 0-4 when Nurkic doesn’t play, and having him back in the lineup — especially against a bigger Lakers team — will be key.

Gordon played more than 30 minutes on Friday before landing on the injury report for Sunday’s game. He started in place of the injured Beal but managed only five points on 2-for-8 shooting.

Beal hasn’t seen the floor since Feb. 13 when he tweaked his hamstring in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings. Royce O’Neale will start in place of Beal.

The Suns already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lakers having won three and lost one — the extra fifth game is because the two teams met in the In-Season Tournament bracket — but the game still matters in the standings as Phoenix (33-24) is just ahead at No. 8 in front of L.A. (31-27) at No. 9 in the West.

Catch the action at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on 98.7 FM or the Arizona Sports app.

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