Eric Bledsoe returns to Suns practice

PHOENIX — Suns guard Eric Bledsoe was a full participant in practice on Saturday for the first time since undergoing meniscus surgery on his knee, but there’s still no set return date.

“He said the knee felt really good and has recovered well every time he has pushed himself harder,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. “Today, we did primarily 5-on-5 and it will be interesting to see how he responds tomorrow.

“He has done well,” McDonough added. “You still see the explosiveness, see the burst and the ability to get by his guy and finish at the rim. We are optimisitic he will help us down the stretch.”

Bledsoe has been out since injuring his knee in a Dec. 30 game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Suns will need him if they want to truly contend in the wild Western Conference — and make the playoffs altogether. Without Bledsoe, the Suns are a mediocre team sitting at 18-16. With him, they are 16-8 and could be a scary opponent come playoff time.

The main thing right now is that he is not experiencing any soreness.

“Not to this point that we have heard,” Hornacek said. “This is the first prolonged up and down that he has done, so like always, we will go to the next game and see how he feels and if it is not bothering him, we will push him more.”

Bledsoe is averaging 18 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 24 games this season, his first with the Suns.

More injury news

Hornacek did not let Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, or the Morris twins practice Saturday. Dragic is the obvious one to miss practice after being a game-time decision last night with his ankle sprain. Marcus Morris is a little banged up and Markieff just had a practice off, but the surprising nugget is that Green is dealing with a toe problem. Hornacek expects all four of them to be ready for a Sunday game against the Atlanta Hawks.

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