A second Phoenix Suns starter will watch as the team attempts to stave off elimination from the playoffs on Thursday night. With Chris Paul already sidelined for Game 6 of their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Denver Nuggets due to a groin injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that starting center Deandre Ayton will likewise be unable to go in what could be the team’s final game of the season.
According to Charania, Ayton will not be able to play due to a rib contusion. Ayton was previously listed as questionable on the team’s injury report on Wednesday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 11, 2023
While it’s not 100 percent clear when Ayton got hurt, the big man took a shot to the ribs by Bruce Brown during Denver’s Game 5 win, which left him in some pretty serious pain.
Where Ayton may have suffered the injury:pic.twitter.com/5MEFzdQav2
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) May 11, 2023
Ayton has struggled in the series as he’s battled against Nikola Jokic. The former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and four fouls in 29.6 minutes per game over the five games the two teams have played. With Ayton on the sideline, it stands to reason that Monty Williams will turn to reserve big man Jock Landale, who has seen his share of minutes increase as the series has gone on.
Game 6 between the Nuggets and the Suns is scheduled to tip off on Thursday night at 10 p.m. EST on ESPN. Denver currently holds a 3-2 lead in the series.