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Suns rule Josh Jackson, Tyler Johnson out vs. Kings

The Phoenix Suns will be without two key contributors on the perimeter on Saturday. The team announced that guard Tyler Johnson and wing Josh Jackson are both unavailable to play against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center.

Johnson hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury in a March 13th loss to the Utah Jazz. He was listed as questionable for multiple games since sustaining the injury, but isn’t quite ready to play despite getting shots up on Saturday after Phoenix’s shootaround without wearing a brace. The Suns signed former lottery pick and Chinese Basketball Association standout Jimmer Fredette on Friday, suggesting that the team will need help in the backcourt for the remainder of the regular season.

The fifth-year guard was sent to Phoenix from the Miami Heat along with Wayne Ellington in exchange for sharp-shooting forward Ryan Anderson. Ellington was immediately released by the Suns, subsequently signing with the Detroit Pistons. In 13 games with Phoenix, 12 of which he’s started, Johnson is averaging 11.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on 36.8 percent shooting.

Jackson, meanwhile, suffered an ankle injury in his team’s loss to the Pistons on Thursday after landing awkwardly while attempting to block a shot. Though he was on the floor in obvious pain for several minutes, coach Igor Kokoskov said after the game that the former top-five pick avoided serious injury. Jackson has again struggled to live up to pre-draft expectations in his sophomore season, averaging 11.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game on 40.9 percent shooting.

Phoenix, 17-56, are three games ahead of the last-place New York Knicks in the standings, poised for one of three coveted spots at the top of the draft lottery drawing.