Brandon Knight leaves Suns-Warriors with sprained ankle, does not return

Ball Don't Lie

The Phoenix Suns' increasingly dicey chances at nabbing the last playoff spot in the Western Conference might have received a devastating blow in Monday's home game vs. the Golden State Warriors. With roughly 4:20 remaining in the second quarter, guard Brandon Knight, the team's prized deadline-day addition amidst the controversial departures of Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, turned his left ankle on a drive to the basket and stayed on the ground in considerable pain. Knight left the court and did not return.

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The Suns later announced that x-rays were negative and that Knight had suffered a left ankle sprain. The severity of the injury is not known, but given the replay angles and his apparent pain, it would not be a huge surprise to learn that Knight will miss a week or more.

With just 17 games remaining, even one or two missed games for a key player could end up spelling doom for Phoenix. Monday's 98-80 loss to the Warriors brings the Suns' record to 33-32, or three games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for eighth and 2 1/2 behind the New Orleans Pelcians for ninth. At 4-7 since the trade deadline, the Suns have not impressed. Worse yet, they have scored just 159 points in their last two games.

It wouldn't be a death knell to Phoenix's playoff hopes if Knight misses significant time, but an extended absence of a key player certainly wouldn't help matters at this point in the season. Keep an eye on his status, because it could turn the West's tightest race into a two-team competition.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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