(right) is entering his third season with the Suns
. (Barry Gossage/Getty Images)
The NBA announced Thursday that Suns forward Markieff Morris has been suspended for one game without pay after elbowing Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in the face during Phoenix's 88-76 preseason victory on Oct. 22.
With 6:42 remaining in the third quarter and the Suns leading 54-43, Morris and Ibaka lined up as Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson attempted his second free throw. Morris, occupying the lane closest to the basket, leaned into his box out of Ibaka. Morris contacted Ibaka's face as he swung his right elbow backwards, causing Ibaka to stagger, hold his mouth, and double over in pain. Morris was assessed a flagrant foul 2 on the play, which necessitated an automatic ejection. The third-year forward out of Kansas departed with zero points (on 0-for-5 shooting) and five rebounds in 13 minutes.
Video of the elbow can be reviewed at NBA.com.
By league rules, Morris will serve his suspension during the first regular season game for which he is eligible and physically able to play. The Suns have completed their preseason schedule and will open the 2013-14 season when they host the Blazers on Oct. 30.
First-year Suns coach Jeff Hornacek will most likely replace Morris in the starting lineup with Channing Frye, who has worked his way back onto the court after being sidelined for the entire 2012-13 season with a heart condition.
Morris, 24, averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds, both career-highs, for the Suns last season. The 2011 lottery pick is on the books for $2.1 million this season, and a one-game suspension will cost him roughly $19,000.