AP Source: Suns G Bledsoe to have knee surgery

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- A person with knowledge of the situation says Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe will have surgery on his right knee and will be sidelined indefinitely.

The person asked not to be identified because the Suns have not officially revealed that surgery is planned.

The dynamic Bledsoe has been a crucial element in Phoenix's surprising success this season. Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe has teamed with Goran Dragic to form a dynamic backcourt that has been the catalyst to the Suns' 21-13 record.

Bledsoe, averaging 18 points and 5.8 assists, has missed the last four games with what had been described as a sprained knee. The Suns are 16-8 with Bledsoe and 5-5 without him.

The planned surgery, believed to be to repair a meniscus injury, was first reported by ESPN.

While Bledsoe's offense, particularly his ability to penetrate the lane, has been an important part of the Suns' success, his strong defense will be missed perhaps even more.

First-year Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough made acquiring Bledsoe an early goal, obtaining him from the Clippers in a three-team deal that sent Jared Dudley to Los Angeles.

Bledsoe, who had been Chris Paul's backup with the Clippers, excelled in the bigger role with the Suns, although he was sidelined earlier for six games with a bruised shin.

New Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has the team playing a high-energy, fast-paced style with Bledsoe and Dragic, both point guards, leading the way. Like Bledsoe, Dragic is having a career year, averaging 19.1 points and 5.9 assists.

Earlier this week, McDonough said Dragic and Bledsoe "can really push the ball as well as any guards in the NBA."

Bledsoe is a restricted free agent after this season, but McDonough has said the Suns expect to do what it takes to keep him.

Gerald Green, who will start in Bledsoe's place, made the winning basket in Phoenix's 103-102 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday night.

Perhaps in anticipation of Bledsoe's absence, the Suns have signed Leandro Barbosa to a 10-day contract. Barbosa, who had been playing in his native Brazil after recovering from knee surgery, had his best NBA seasons with Phoenix.

The Suns are 1-1 so far in a five-game trip. They play at Memphis on Friday night.


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