Posted January 10, 2014

Suns’ Eric Bledsoe undergoes successful knee surgery, could return this season

Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns
Eric Bledsoe

The Suns aren’t ruling out a return from Eric Bledsoe this season. (Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Suns announced that Eric Bledsoe has undergone successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and could potentially return during the second half of the season.

The surgery to repair meniscus cartilage in Bledsoe’s knee was performed by Suns doctors on Friday after it was reported on Thursday that Bledsoe would require knee surgery and be sidelined indefinitely.

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As the Point Forward noted earlier, Bledsoe, 24, is in the midst of a career year after the Clippers traded him to the Suns last summer. He is currently averaging 18 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals, all career highs, while shooting a career-best 48.6 percent from the field. His 20.2 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) ranks No. 8 among point guards in the NBA.

The news comes a little more than a week after Bledsoe last stepped foot on the court. He played 31 minutes against the Clippers on Dec. 30, and has been sidelined for Phoenix’s last four games.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has moved Gerald Green into the starting lineup in Bledsoe’s absence. Green hit a game-winning jumper against the Timberwolves on Wednesday.

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Bledsoe, 24, was the No. 18 pick in the 2010 draft after going one-and-done at Kentucky. Set to become a restricted free agent next summer, he’s been floated as a Most Improved Player favorite and also a fringe All-Star candidate this season. Bledsoe joins fellow Western Conference guards Chris Paul (shoulder), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Russell Westbrook (knee) and Jrue Holiday (leg) on the injured list.

Helping replace Bledsoe will be longtime NBA veteran Leandro Barbosa, who the Suns signed to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. Barbosa played in the team’s win that night, totaling 13 minutes of floor time and three points on 1-of-6 shooting. Barbosa was only used sparingly in 31 games for the Celtics last season, but had some of the best years of his career as a Sun, including 2006-07 when he averaged a career-best 18.1 ppg.

Phoenix has been one of the league’s biggest surprises teams this season, and it enters Friday’s action with a record of 21-13.  The Suns are 16-8 (.667) when Bledsoe suits up and 5-5 (.500) without him.

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