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Suns to shut down Brandon Knight for remainder of season

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (3) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9), of Spain, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Monday, March 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

The Phoenix Suns have five games remaining in what has been a woeful 2015-16 season.

They won’t have one of their top scorers for the rest of the way.

As first reported by Paul Coro of azcentral sports, guard Brandon Knight will be held out of the last five contests after a recurrence of a sports hernia that sidelined him earlier in the year.

“I think Brandon is going to seek the best thing his physical challenge of that sports hernia,” interim head coach Earl Watson said Sunday prior to a loss to the Utah Jazz. “Whatever they decide has to be best for his health, first.”

Watson said he’d love to have Knight on the floor for the team’s remaining games, but reiterated the guard’s health is the more important than increasing the Suns’ chances of winning.

“I can’t live with myself putting our players at risk for further injury just to secure a job,” he said. “I’ve never been that type of person as a player, I’m not going to be that type of person as a coach. Whatever’s best for Brandon is best for the entire program.”

Knight missed 21 games earlier this season with the same injury. Since returning March 10 against Denver, the 24-year-old had played decently, averaging 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.

Watson said that he can empathize with what his player is going through.

“I’ve had that injury and that’s a tough injury because I can make the same move 10 times and maybe only feel it three,” Watson said. “Or I can make it 10 times and feel it seven of the 10. You just never know. The injury is like a floating injury and it’s hard to describe.”

It’s the second straight year Knight has been sidelined to end the season. He played in only 11 games with Phoenix last season after being acquired in a trade with Milwaukee in February and missed 15 of the Suns’ last 16 games with a left ankle injury.

Knight is the third Suns’ player unable to finish the season due to injury. Guard Eric Bledsoe suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during a home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers the day after Christmas and hasn’t played since. Forward T.J. Warren suffered a fractured foot in late-January and had surgery that has kept him in street clothes since.

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