Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker underwent a lower back microdisectomy procedure on Thursday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Dennis Crandall.
P.J. Tucker Undergoes Back Surgery
The surgery was successful, but Tucker is expected to miss between six to eight weeks.
Tucker, 31, is heading into his sixth NBA season, and his fifth with the Suns. Last season, Tucker averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Tucker played in all 82 games last season for the Suns – a career high.
If Tucker rehabs well from this back injury, then he should be ready for the new NBA season. Tucker should return to action for the Suns, along with other injury stricken players like guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. The Suns were heavily affected by injuries last season. In fact, the loss of key players led to the team winning just 23 games and finishing as the second worst team in the Western Conference. This allowed the Suns to land the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft, a draft which saw the team begin its makeover.
The New-Look Suns
With the fourth overall pick, the Suns selected Croatian power forward Dragan Bender. Bender looks to be a smart pick for a Suns franchise looking for a long-term big man option. Bender is very skilled and stands at 7’1”, a size similar to the likes of Kristaps Porzingis. With Porzingis having such a good rookie year, the Suns decided to take a risk and draft another European big man in Bender. The Suns also drafted Marquese Chriss, another power forward, via trade with the Sacramento Kings.
So, after a solid draft, the Suns set out to add experience and depth in free agency. Former Suns guard Leandro Barbosa re-joined the team, for what will be his third stint with Phoenix. Small forward Jared Dudley also re-joined his former team, and just like Barbosa, Dudley returns for his third spell in Phoenix.
The Suns have a good young core to build off of going forward. Devin Booker might be in the race for the Most Improved Player award. Big man Alex Len is heading into his fourth season and could be ready to take the next step in his progression. Additionally, the surprise package of this new-look Suns roster could be second round pick Tyler Ulis. Ulis is similar to Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, an undersized guard whose effort and attitude can only be described as relentless.
Under new head coach Earl Watson, this young Suns roster could achieve more than what’s expected of it. The team looks to have a fresh attitude and just needs to stay healthy in order to potentially surprise the league.