Suns Rookie Dragan Bender Out For The Season
February 10, 2017
Phoenix Suns rookie Dragan Bender had surgery on his injured right ankle Wednesday, and will miss the rest of the season, John Gambadoro of ArizonaSports.com reports.
The fourth overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, Bender is averaging 3.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 0.5 blocks and 12.7 minutes in 38 games during his rookie season. The 19-year-old tallied career-highs of 11 points, 13 rebounds and three steals to become the youngest player in Suns history to record a double-double on December 26th against the Rockets.
“It’s tough. It’s unfortunate,” Suns coach Earl Watson said. “But at the same time, he’s 19. We don’t want to rush him back. We want him to get healthy and come back and have a long career.”
As for whether the injury is season-ending, Watson replied: “Hopefully, he gets back before the season’s over, but if it’s not time, it’s not time.”
The Suns will most likely miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season and as a result coach Watson won’t be in a hurry to bring back his first round pick. The Croatian Basketball Federation will keep a close eye on Bender’s rehab as they are still hoping to use his services at EuroBasket in September.