A member of the Phoenix Suns’ already thin frontcourt rotation went down early on in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Reserve big man Dario Saric, who has turned into a reliable backup for Deandre Ayton as he’s moved to the 5 more frequently this season, suffered a right knee injury.
Saric limped off the floor and made his way to the tunnel behind the Milwaukee Bucks’ bench, where he was immediately assisted by a pair of staffers and made his way into the locker room.
Suns Dario Saric was helped back to the locker room holding his knee.#NBAFinals2021 #RallyTheValley pic.twitter.com/XO5I2q2MyD
— JWALSports Productions LLC (@JWALSports) July 7, 2021
It is unclear exactly how Saric hurt his knee, but it was clear that he was in some serious discomfort. Ultimately, Saric was examined in the back and it was determined that his knee would prevent him from playing in the remainder of the game.
Dario Saric (right knee) will not return tonight, the team says. https://t.co/z4LU6oT1Qm
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 7, 2021
With an eye on giving Ayton some rest, the Suns turned to Frank Kaminsky to fill in for some of the minutes Saric could reliably fill, and it’ll be interesting to see if they’ll continue to use him or if they will opt for a small-ball look with someone like Jae Crowder at the 5 and more of an emphasis on bigger wings being on the floor, like Torrey Craig and Cameron Johnson. Saric has averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game this postseason.