Phoenix Suns: Two key players ruled out for remainder of preseason

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Key players Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne will miss the remainder of the Phoenix Suns preseason, with both having suffered right hand injuries early in the team’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Fortunately, the injuries are not expected to keep the duo out of any regular season action, with the Suns beginning their 2022-23 on October 19 against the Dallas Mavericks at Footprint Center.

The absences of Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne will give further opportunities to bench players looking to earn minutes in the Phoenix Suns rotation.

Phoenix had been eager on seeing the newlook starting unit with Johnson at power-forward, but more on-court repetitions will now have to wait until the start of the regular season. Torrey Craig started in place of Johnson for the second half against the Lakers, with that likely to continue as the most positionally similar player.

Wednesday’s game saw Dario Saric take to an NBA floor for the first time since his devastating ACL injury in the 2021 Finals, with Johnson’s injury likely to provide him more opportunity to reclimiatise into the Suns system.

Payne’s injury leaves an interesting question over the rotation, with the Suns fortunate given the timing. Does their lack of point-guard depth mean Chris Paul and Devin Booker separate a larger chunk of their minutes, or do the Suns provide more ball-handling and playmaking duties to the likes of Landry Shamet and Duane Washington Jr? The latter is most likely given it’s preseason, but it’ll be a fascinating watch should it occur during the season proper.

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While this isn’t an ideal preparation for the Suns, the injuries should be fairly minor and it could lead to some genuine positives. Phoenix’s bench rotation is far from settled just over ten days out from the opener, so this should help solidify the makeup across the last two preseason matches.