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Injured Sun plans to return against Warriors Tuesday

Bradley Beal is hoping to play his fourth game of the season when Phoenix plays Golden State

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors
Bradley Beal cheers his team on in street clothes
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns were thrilled to trade for three-time All-Star Bradley Beal this summer, but a back injury has limited him to three games. He’s planning to make that four on Tuesday, when the Golden State Warriors visit the Suns in Phoenix.

Beal was supposed to be part of Phoenix’s Big Three this year, along with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. But he suffered a back strain that kept him out of the season’s first seven games. When he returned, Beal played three games, re-injuring his back on November 12 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He hasn’t played since.

Booker has also battled injuries this season, missing nine games, including all three of the games that Beal played. Tuesday might be the first time all three All-Stars play together outside the pre-season. The trio had a chance to play together at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, as members of Team Durant, but in a harbinger of their future as Phoenix Suns, Durant had to miss the game due to an injury.

Will we finally see them take the court on Tuesday? Beal will play unless he suffers a setback. Durant is less likely to play. He missed Friday’s Suns-Kings game with an injured ankle, and he didn’t practice Sunday.

They’ll also be without Nassir Little, who has an orbital fracture and is in the concussion protocol, and may not have Grayson Allen, who injured his groin, presumably while trying to trip someone. We also won’t see Splash Brother-In-Law Damion Lee, who is still recovering from meniscus surgery.

Even without their Big Three, Phoenix has managed a respectable 12-10 record, and beaten the Warriors in both of their meetings. Beal will provide reinforcement to what still may be a rather shorthanded Suns team Tuesday, though the Warriors have proven this year that they can blow a lead no matter what opposing players are on the court. Aside from Gary Payton II, still rehabbing his calf injury, the Warriors should be at full strength, after Chris Paul overcame his recent illness to practice Sunday.

It’ll also be a chance for Beal to square off against Steph Curry, as they did both directly and indirectly down the stretch in 2021, when Curry won his second scoring title.

The other big matchup Tuesday comes when Steve Kerr faces off against the DJ at the Footprint Center. After the Warriors-Suns game November 22, Kerr went into full “Get off my lawn!” mode about the music during the game. To quote Huey Lewis in “Back To The Future,” Kerr thought the music was too darn loud.

“In this building, you can’t hear anything because it’s like a club,” Kerr told reporters after the loss. “It’s like a South Beach club out there. What are we doing? I’m being dead serious. I couldn’t hear anything. It’s thumping techno club music. Can we just have a basketball game anymore?”

While Kerr became a hero to dads, cranky neighbors, earplug manufacturers, and women named Karen with his comments, DJ Chris Villa became a different kind of hero by remixing Kerr’s noise complaints in a banger of a thumping techno club song Friday night.

Will the Suns actually play that song when Kerr and the Warriors visit? That seems a little too confrontational. Let’s just say the odds are slightly worse than the chances that the Suns’ entire Big Three suits up for the game.

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