Suns center Deandre Ayton cleared last minute for crucial game vs. Thunder after missing COVID-19 test
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is en route to Monday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder after he missed his COVID-19 test earlier in the day. The FOX Sports Arizona broadcast announced the news prior to tip-off, noting the center would not be in the starting lineup:
Deandre Ayton will not start due to missing his COVID-19 testing window this morning. pic.twitter.com/CcuGZtTtrQ
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 10, 2020
Deandre Ayton has since completed his coronavirus test and has been cleared to take part in the game — now on his way to the arena, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Suns, who had gone 5-0 in the restart of the NBA season, had a massive opportunity in their hands as Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, and Nerlens Noel were listed as out for Monday’s tilt.
“We had some guys come out of the Washington game a little banged up. We don’t anticipate it being anything long term,” said Thunder coach Billy Donovan, according to Erik Horne of The Athletic.
Phoenix could get out to a season-best sixth straight win with so much firepower out of the Thunder’s lineup, but that task gets all the more complicated without their big man, who was poised to do some damage without Adams or Noel defending the rim.
It seems the Suns might be able to use him at some point throughout the game, maybe after halftime — but they will have to pray that the score isn’t too out of hand by the time the big man is able to suit up.
Ayton is averaging 18.9 points and 11.7 rebounds in his second NBA season — numbers that will surely make a difference in this vital game as the Suns fight for their playoff chances in a loaded West.