Phoenix Suns star Bradley Beal is set to return to action on Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors, the team announced. But the debut of Phoenix's new star trio will have to wait. Kevin Durant will not play against the Warriors due to an ankle injury. Beal, Durant and Devin Booker have yet to share the floor together this season.
Beal has missed the most time, and he has been limited to just three games this season due to a back injury. He last played on Nov. 12. Beal's back has been causing him issues since training camp, and he was. Shortly before Thanksgiving, the team made the decision to shut him down and give his body time to heal rather than dealing with the day-to-day nature of such injuries. The team's initial timeline was at least three weeks, and Beal is just slightly past that target.
Trading for Beal was the highlight of a busy summer for the Suns, who revamped their roster after a disappointing second-round exit last season. During the short window when Beal was on the floor, Booker was sidelined with a strained calf.
With all of their star players missing some time, the Suns have been a bit of a roller coaster this season. They started off 2-4, then went on a seven-game winning streak a short while later, and have now lost four of their last five. Entering play Tuesday night, they sit tied for eighth place in a crowded Western Conference at 12-10.
Beal's return will be a major boost to a team that is extremely thin and relies on its stars to an extreme degree. Overall, the Suns are tied for ninth in the league in offensive rating at 116.3, but that number jumps to 122.7 when Durant and Booker are both on the floor. Overall, they're 14th in net rating at plus-2.4 points per 100 possessions. Again, that mark skyrockets to a plus-10.5 net rating with both Durant and Booker on.
This team is really good when it's best players are out there, and really bad when they aren't. With Beal back in the mix, the Suns can ensure that they always have a high-level offensive talent on the floor and limit the amount of bench-heavy units they have to play.