Suns News

Suns to Finish Preseason With Gortat Sidelined

Gortat will miss Thursday's game with a non-displaced fracture in his thumb.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: Dec. 21, 2011

After falling on the road to the Nuggets in their first preseason game, the Suns close out their abbreviated preseason at home Thursday against the very-same Denver team. They’ll know right away if they’ve made any marked improvement from Tuesday.

“We have set the tone for the game early,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “The tone that we set last night was that if you run out and run hard we’re going to give up easy layups.”

Going into the final game, the Suns are looking to increase their intensity on both ends, while attempting to continue to tighten up their new defensive schemes.

“I would venture to guess that if you’re going to give up 127 points, there are not many wins out there for that kind of defense,” Gentry said.

The team focused a great deal of Wednesday's practice on defense, finishing over an hour later than usual. Other areas the coach will be closely examining on Thursday will be getting the advantage in points in the paint, live turnovers and second-chance points.

Gortat Sidelined

Suns center Marcin Gortat suffered a non-displaced fracture on the top of his right thumb when Denver’s Rudy Fernandez swiped at the ball while Gortat was dribbling Tuesday night.

“He’s in a considerable amount of pain,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “He won’t play (Thursday) night. He’ll probably sit out a couple of days of practice and then he’ll decide whether or not he’ll be able to play with a splint on.”

Without making any predictions, Babby said that it could take a “couple of weeks” for it to heal, with Gortat having the decision of trying to play with the splint or not. Unfortunately, the injury is on his shooting hand.

Silver Lining

The major positive that came out of Tuesday’s game was the play of rookie Markieff Morris, who posted 10 points and a team-high-tying eight rebounds. He also added one block and two steals in his 27 minutes of action.

Hill to Return

Suns small forward Grant Hill, who has been nursing a sore right knee, will play in Thursday night’s contest against the Nuggets. Hill said the soreness has resulted from the bumps and bruises of playing in the NBA.

On Monday, Hill engaged in about 70 percent of practice, stating that he could have played Tuesday night. However, Coach Gentry preferred that he take the time off and recover.

Arizona Idol

Phoenix native and former American Idol top-5 finisher Brooke White has been tabbed to sing the National Anthem on opening night on Monday, December 26. White’s first full-length release, “High Hopes & Heartbreak,” was produced by Dave Cobb and Idol judge Randy Jackson.

Since her discovery on American Idol, White has immersed herself in several projects, including working with a band, acting and her own online web show.

Dancer Calendar

Don't forget to pick up a 2012-13 Suns Dancers swimsuit calendar, which goes on sale Thursday at US Airways Center at the Suns Team Shop.

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