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Marquese Chriss is considering a second MRI on his hip

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While T.J. Warren is set to return against Denver, Marquese Chriss is still battling a hip flexor that could keep him out even longer.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

After taking a step and grimacing against Oklahoma City on Jan. 7 early in the first quarter, Marquese Chriss immediately went off with trainers to the locker room.

We haven’t seen Chriss on the floor since, and after an initial day-to-day diagnosis, he’s on his way to seemingly miss multiple weeks after what AZCentral’s Scott Bordow tweeted earlier today.

This is the first stretch in Chriss’ NBA career thus far where he has missed any time. It’s unfortunate because we were in the midst of his career-best stretch. Since Devin Booker returned Dec. 26, Chriss had averaged 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.2 blocks over those six games back together.

Chriss also was seemingly settling into a role as the third option on offense, so we should find out more once the team returns briefly from Denver. If he’s not back by the time they play New York at home on the 26th, then that would be nearly three weeks out of action.

Doing some quick research on hip flexors, it seems as if the lower graded ones usually take 1-2 weeks while others categorized as moderate end up around 3-5 weeks.

If Chriss does go through with another MRI, then this could end up around the latter time frame. As mentioned, maybe we see him over this road stretch if all goes well though.

This means it’s time to step up for Dragan Bender.

Over his past three, Bender has averaged 6.7 points and 7 rebounds. The uptick in boards is a solid development in Chriss’ absence, but he has a negative turnover ratio over that same span.

If Chriss is out for a more extended period, Bender is in line to see 30 plus minutes a night for a double-digit game span. That should tell us a ton about how much development the 20-year-old Croatian has taken over the past few months.

As we have noticed, not having Chriss out there has hurt the Suns, especially from a rim protection standpoint. Having him out another week or two could see more losses now heading their way.