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Suns Center Deandre Ayton Out a Week with Ankle Injury

A key starter for Phoenix will miss back-to-back games against Portland.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton will miss a minimum of one week of action due to a left ankle sprain suffered in the Suns’ 124-111 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted the news this afternoon.

Suns say center Deandre Ayton will miss at least one week due to a left ankle sprain.

This development is of particular interest to Portland Trail Blazers fans because the Blazers draw a “baseball series” back to back against the Suns on Friday and Saturday of next week, with both games in Phoenix. That situation is hard enough without a potential mismatch at center. Ayton being out would help Portland’s cause immensely.

The first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft has been averaging 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds on 54.8% shooting from the field in 26.0 minutes per game over five starts for the Suns so far this season.

Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic has averaged a more modest 13.5 points on 48.3% shooting, though he has added 12.2 rebounds per game, far eclipsing Ayton.

Nurkic did tally 20 points and 17 rebounds on October 21st, when the Blazers defeated the Suns 113-111 in overtime, but Ayton drew 5 fouls in that contest and was never fully engaged. Just as importantly, Nurkic scored 27 with 15 rebounds when facing the Houston Rockets this last Friday night. So far this season, Portland’s center has played phenomenally when the other team could’t suit up a large-sized starter to oppose him.

The Blazers are off to a 5-1 start in 2022-23. They face the Memphis Grizzlies in Portland next Wednesday before challenging the Suns in Phoenix next weekend.