Yuta Watanabe Sidelined: Suns’ Pickup Game Intensity Takes Toll Ahead of Jazz Clash
Yuta Watanabe will be absent from Sunday’s game against the Jazz due to a left quad contusion sustained during a spirited pickup game on Saturday.
In his debut season with the Suns, Watanabe has been contributing 5.3 points per game while shooting 37.2% from beyond the arc, featuring in all 12 games played by the team so far.
Initially marked as questionable on the injury roster, Suns coach Frank Vogel explained during the pregame press conference that Watanabe sustained a significant thigh injury during a pickup game session the previous day, forcing him to sit out the upcoming game.
To fill Watanabe’s absence, Vogel mentioned Nassir Little would step into those minutes. Little demonstrated his value in Phoenix’s recent 131-128 triumph against Utah, scoring five pivotal points off the bench.
Reflecting on the intensity of these pickup games, both Jordan Goodwin and two-way player Saben Lee emphasized the competitive nature of these sessions, despite being labeled as “controlled.” Goodwin referred to them as “off-day bumps,” highlighting the drive among players who might not see substantial game time.
Lee recalled Watanabe exiting the live play but wasn’t privy to the exact incident that led to his injury.
“We’re eager to have him back on the court soon, but we want to ensure he makes a swift recovery,” Lee expressed, underlining the collective hope for Watanabe’s speedy return to action.