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Suns hit with brutal Deandre Ayton news amid COVID-19 outbreak

Suns, Deandre Ayton

The Phoenix Suns have been very careful when it comes to handling COVID-19, which is why they were one of a few teams who have a fully healthy roster … that is until Monday. Now, they even lost Deandre Ayton to the health and safety protocols.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Ayton has joined teammates Jae Crowder and Elfrid Payton, as well as head coach Monty Williams in the COVID-19 list.

This means that all three players and their head coach will not be able to join the team when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

The Suns are coming off a one-day rest following their Christmas showdown with the Golden State Warriors. After losing the game–along with the top seed in the West–hopes are high that they’ll be able to bounce back this time around.

Unfortunately, things will be rather difficult for the franchise with some key pieces from top to bottom missing.

Deandre Ayton has been a major force for Phoenix down low, averaging a double-double of 17.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He is a big reason for their early success this 2021-22 and unarguably the third-most important player for the Suns, only behind Devin Booker and veteran leader Chris Paul.

With Ayton sidelined, though, Phoenix will have to rely more on JaVale McGee to anchor their frontcourt.