CHICAGO - MARCH 30: Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns leaps on teammate Channing Frye #8 after a three-point shot against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 30, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Suns defeated the Bulls 111-105. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Suns face their first "must win" game of the season and may be without two key starters.
After weeks of important games where Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry refused to use the "must win" tag, he broke down and admitted that he told his team that yes, Tuesday's game against the Utah Jazz, does indeed qualify. Of course, he also pointed out that while they might not be mathematicians, they had pretty much figured that out on their own.
The importance of the game settled, the real question at hand is the injury status of key starters Grant Hill and Channing Frye.
Grant Hill suffered a setback with his knee after returning to the court on the 13th after missing the prior two weeks due to a minor surgery. He's not played since re-injurying his knee making a cut early in the San Antonio game on the 14th.
Hill was looking good to return Saturday against Denver but after his pre-game routine he failed to pass several tests conducted by the training staff. He's experiencing pain in the knee and hasn't practiced since Saturday morning. He's officially being called a game-time decision for the Jazz game.
"We've been cautious and we'll continue to be cautious. If it feels good and passes a series of tests and there's no problems then we'll go, and if not I think it would be selfish of me to think that I can help the team if I'm not right," Hill said Monday.
Channing Frye injured his right shoulder in Saturday's loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter. He suffered a subluxation similar to the injury that kept him out of seven games last March. Frye was not with the team on Monday because his wife went into labor around 3:00 a.m.
"That's one of those deals where in the next 36 hours we'll have a better feeling for what it is," Gentry said about Frye's shoulder injury.
Frye will be evaluated and if there's a chance he can play, he will join the team in Utah. If it's clear he won't be able to play, he will likely stay in Phoenix to be with his wife and new baby. Coach Gentry assumes that he would fly to Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning, if it looks like he can play.