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Phoenix Suns Eric Bledsoe out at least a week with sprained knee

The Phoenix Suns announced today that Eric Bledsoe will be shut down for another week, missing at least five more games over the coming week.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe initially sprained his knee on Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. He missed Thursday night's loss to Memphis, and is still suffering from soreness and swelling.

Per the team, he will be sidelined and will not be evaluated for another week.

Bledsoe has been enjoying a career year with the Suns, scoring 18 points with nearly 6 assists in 24 games this season, as the face of the rising Suns to the national media on their way to a 19-12 season (16-8 with Bledsoe in the lineup).

This is the second time this season that Bledsoe has missed extended time. He earlier missed 6 games with a bruised shin, during which the Suns went 3-3 with wins against Bobcats, Magic and the Trail Blazers and losses to Sacramento (twice) and Miami.

The Suns host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, then embark on a 5-game road trip over only 7 days, featuring two back-to-backs. All of the next seven Suns opponents are under .500 for the season, but 5 of those 7 games will be played on the road. Wednesday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves has been picked up by ESPN for national coverage, but it will be a blow to the Suns chances without Bledsoe.

This is a setback for the streaking Suns, who reached what may be their high water mark of the season at 19-11 with a victory over the 21-12 Clippers on Monday night. Since then, the Suns lost to 13-17 Memphis without Bledsoe, and now face at least 5 more games without him.

Coach Hornacek has gone with basically an 8-man rotation for the season, with all 8 players getting at least 20 minutes per night, while a 9th rotation spot goes to rookie Archie Goodwin for about 10 minutes per game.

With Bledsoe sidelined, look for Ish Smith to get the lion's share of that 8th rotation spot ahead of Archie Goodwin because he can play point guard full time. Smith was somewhat effective in the Memphis game, getting 2 assists and 6 rebounds in 19 minutes of play, and was a catalyst to a 21-point turnaround against Denver two weeks ago.

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