Guard Eric Bledsoe is out for the season with a knee injury, the Phoenix Suns announced Tuesday, leaving the team without one of its best players.
In a press release, the team said Bledsoe had successful surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee, but the injury will keep him out for the rest of the campaign. He should make a full return at the start of training camp next fall.
“It’s a tough break, he’ll be out for the season,” said head coach Jeff Hornacek. “Things like this happen, it will make him stronger. He’ll get back to work in the summer and next training camp go at it again.”
Bledsoe, the team’s leading scorer, was injured Saturday in the Suns’ loss to the 76ers. Attempting to go through a screen on defense in the early second quarter, Bledsoe took a bump to the right side of his body and went down to the floor.
As the diagnosis was announced, many reports said Bledsoe was expected to miss “extended time” with the injury.
“They can repair it or cut it out,” started Hornacek in regards to why Bledsoe is missing the rest of the season. “Repairing it is probably the best thing to happen. You’re out longer, but it’s the best thing for your joint and your knee. If they just cut it out then all of the sudden you end up being bone on bone. Unfortunately, for us it’s the long one, but fortunately for him it’s probably the better thing for him.”
Bledsoe missed 33 games with a partial meniscus tear in his right knee during the 2013-14 season. That was the second surgery to the right knee because of meniscus damage. With the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe missed four months after injuring himself in October of 2011. The second surgery removed the meniscus rather than repaired it.
The 6-foot-1 point guard was averaging career-bests of 20.4 points, 6.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season.
Without Bledsoe, the Suns will likely slide Brandon Knight to the starting point guard spot.
The Suns have started rookie Devin Booker at shooting guard in two games this season. Ronnie Price, Sonny Weems and Archie Goodwin could also see an increase in playing time following the news of Bledsoe’s injury.
“Whenever one of your best players goes out it’s a time for other guys to step up,” said Hornacek. “They can’t try to say I’m gonna be the guy that steps up. You just got let it come, there will be more opportunities out there, and then it kind of naturally happens.”