Suns guard Eric Bledsoe will reportedly undergo right knee surgery that will sideline him indefinitely.
ESPN.com reports the prognosis, noting that the explosive fourth-year guard might have suffered meniscus damage. The Arizona Republic confirms the planned surgery, adding that additional details are expected to be made available on Friday.
Bledsoe, 24, is in the midst of a career year after the Clippers traded him to the Suns last summer. He is currently averaging 18 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals, all career highs, while shooting a career-best 48.6 percent from the field. His 20.2 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) ranks No. 8 among point guards in the NBA.
The news comes a little more than a week after Bledsoe last stepped foot on the court. He played 31 minutes against the Clippers on Dec. 30, and has been sidelined for Phoenix's last four games.
Bledsoe, 24, was the No. 18 pick in the 2010 draft after going one-and-done at Kentucky. Set to become a restricted free agent next summer, he's been floated as a Most Improved Player favorite and also a fringe All-Star candidate this season. Bledsoe joins fellow Western Conference guards Chris Paul (shoulder), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Russell Westbrook (knee) on the injured list.
Helping replace Bledsoe will be longtime NBA veteran Leandro Barbosa, who the Suns signed to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. Barbosa played in the team's win that night, totaling 13 minutes of floor time and three points on 1-of-6 shooting. Barbosa was only used sparingly in 31 games for the Celtics last season, but had some of the best years of his career as a Sun, including 2006-07 when he averaged a career-best 18.1 ppg. Phoenix has been one of the league's biggest surprises teams this season, and it enters Thursday's action with a record of 21-13. The Suns are 16-8 (.667) when Bledsoe suits up and 5-5 (.500) without him.