The Suns’ push for the postseason just got a little tougher today when Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson announced that Leandro Barbosa suffered a proximal tibial bone bruise Wednesday night.
The prognosis is that LB will miss one to three weeks, depending on the amount of swelling around his knee. One week would make him available for the Suns’ home game against the Jazz next week, while three weeks would mean he won’t be able to suit up until Phoenix hosts Memphis on April 10.
The Brazilian Blur injured himself when he drove to the basket with about 35 seconds left in the first quarter. He landed awkwardly after missing a lay-up that Louis Amundson tipped in, hyperextending his knee in the process.
X-rays were taken last night and came back negative, while the MRI this morning revealed no permanent long-term damage. Nelson said that Barbosa will begin no-impact cardio work on the bike and in the water immediately. After a week, the training staff will evaluate Barbosa and decide if he’s ready to subject his leg to impact training.
“Just looking at the injury when it happened, it could’ve been a lot worse,” Nelson said. ”(Team physician) Dr. Carter checked his knee for ligament damage and his ligaments are fine.”
With pressure high as the Suns attempt to catch the Mavs for the eighth and final playoff spot, every day that Barbosa misses is crucial to the team’s postseason chances. If he misses only one week, he’ll only miss two of the club’s remaining 14 games. If he misses three weeks, he’ll miss nine of the last 14.
Barbosa has been Phoenix’s main firepower off the bench and is currently the team’s fourth-leading scorer with Amar’e Stoudemire out with an injured eye. Although his 14.3 points a game average is down slightly from a year ago, Barbosa has been red-hot as of late, scoring 20 or more points in four out of six of his last games coming into Wednesday. He currently ranks 23rd in the NBA in points per 48 minutes.
Click here for video on how Barbosa was injured.