Deandre Ayton Left Suns-Pelicans With A Left Ankle Sprain And Will Not Return

The Phoenix Suns are off to a strong start to the 2022-23 season at 3-1 with some wins over West contenders like the Mavs and Warriors, which isn’t a surprise based on their performance the last two regular seasons but is a very positive sign after what can only be described as a disastrous end to last year and offseason.

Among the biggest storylines coming into the season in Phoenix was how their young star center Deandre Ayton would respond after they tried, by all accounts, to trade him during the offseason, only to find themselves matching an offer sheet to bring him back. Through the first four games, Ayton showed he would continue to be a pro and produce on the court despite any lingering frustrations with the organization, averaging 18.2 points and 9.5 rebounds to start the season.

On Friday night, Ayton had four points and three boards in his first eight minutes of work, looking like he was on the way to another solid night against the Pelicans when he came down on Jonas Valanciunas’ foot after a jump shot and turned over his left ankle.

Ayton would leave and eventually go back to the locker room, where he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Given Ayton was able to at least get up and try to walk it off a bit hopefully is an indication that it’s not a severe sprain, but it is one the Suns will be cautious about with their young star center and keep him out for the rest of the night at the least. We’ll have to wait and see what his status is for Sunday’s game against Houston or if he could miss any extended time after further testing tomorrow.

UPDATE: Ayton will miss at least a week with the injury, meaning the Suns will have to navigate a four-game stretch against Houston, Minnesota, and Portland (twice) before a potential return.