As the Suns make their run for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, they could receive a little aid from someone whose specialty is running. Scoring guard Leandro Barbosa is expected to return to the lineup tonight as Phoenix welcomes the last-place Kings.
LB resumed practicing witht the team Tuesday after suffering from a proximal tibial bone bruise on his left knee against the Sixers on March 18. He has missed seven games since hyperextending his knee during that contest.
Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said of LB’s chances of playing, “We’ll try to squeeze a few minutes out of him and see what happens.”
If LB does play, Gentry plans on limiting his minutes. Gentry won’t put a cap on his playing time, but will monitor his time on the floor closely.
For precautionary purposes, the “Brazilian Blur” said that he’s going to wait until pregame warm-ups to make the final decision on whether he’ll play, but feels “optimistic.” Barbosa said that the pain and swelling has been reduced dramtically, but not completely.
The sixth-year man is the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 14.3 points a game. He also ranks ninth in the league in steals per turnover.
The Suns currently trail the Mavs for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference by four games.