Hornacek Confirms Bledsoe's Return vs. Cavs

Barry Gossage/NBAE

Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek didn’t wait for the first question before answering it.

“Yes, Eric’s playing.”

So yes, it’s official. Eric Bledsoe, the point guard who helped lead the Suns to a 19-11 start the season, will make his return tonight after missing over two months following arthroscopic knee surgery.

The news will likely excite Suns fans, though not nearly as much as it excites the fourth-year guard.

“I came in early,” he said Wednesday morning. “I came in so early there wasn’t anybody here…I beat everybody here.”

The hope is that Bledsoe can similarly beat the opposition down the floor, much as he did before he injured his knee back on Dec. 30. Up to that point, he and Goran Dragic had teamed up to be one of the best backcourts in the league. Bledsoe put up 18.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest while shooting better than 48 percent from the field.

He will have the chance to pick up where he left off. Hornacek said Bledsoe will have no minutes restriction placed on him. He will come off the bench in tonight’s game, but Hornacek hinted that arrangement will be temporary.

“Coach, he told me he was going to play me how I feel,” Bledsoe said. “Whether that’s 30 seconds, a minute or five minutes, he said he’s going to play me how I feel. The only way I can do that is by going out there, so we’ll see.”

Gerald Green has been starting at shooting guard, and has been putting up 22.4 points per game since the All-Star break while shooting nearly 43 percent from three-point range.

Regardless of the immediate and future impact on the rotation, Bledsoe is being welcomed back with open arms by the team that went 16-8 when he was healthy.

“We went over some plays today just to make sure that he was familiar with all of them and he picked them right back up,” Hornacek said. “I think everybody’s ready for him to come back.”

Almost as ready as Bledsoe himself.

“I’m going to go out there and play like I know how to play,” he said. “I’m not going to worry about [my knee]. I’m not focused on that.”