The Suns – four out with seven games remaining and needing to jump both the Pelicans and Thunder – are technically still in the playoff race.
By the time their starting center, Alex Len, next plays, they might be officially eliminated.
The Moda Center and Portland centers have been unkind to him with their latest blow causing a broken nose that will sideline Len for a week.
Len returned to Phoenix, where he will undergo surgery on his nasal bone Thursday. Len then will be fitted with a mask to wear when he returns to action for possibly the final three games of the season.
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More than the playoffs – which, at this point, are unrealistic – Phoenix should be concerned with Len’s long-term health.
He’s extremely promising, but he has already suffered several injuries – including to his ankles and finger. Are these isolated unlucky breaks, or does Len’s body type and/or playing style make him more susceptible?
The answer might not be easy to discern, but it could have a huge effect on the Suns for years to come.