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How to handle Ricky Rubio’s injury Thursday vs. the Pelicans [UPDATE]

Suns guard is listed as doubtful to play. We break down the fantasy basketball implications here.

Phoenix Suns guard Ricky Rubio passes the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Talking Stick Resort Arena.  Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: After briefly suiting up Tuesday against the Kings, Ricky Rubio (back) is now listed as doubtful to play Thursday vs. the Pelicans. Center Aron Baynes (hip) has already been ruled out after missing last night’s game.

Rubio only played 16 minutes against Sacramento in a close game, so it’s clear he’s not over the back spasms. Devin Booker saw big minutes and usage, scoring 30 points with eight assists. That should continue in a great game environment; the Pels don’t play D and play up in pace. Jevon Carter was a healthy scratch but may get into the rotation with Rubio out.

UPDATE: Phoenix Suns PG Ricky Rubio and C Aron Baynes are both listed as questionable to play Tuesday vs. the Sacramento Kings. Rubio was a late scratch last night vs. the Celtics due to back spasms. Baynes played against his former team, but is now dealing with a hip injury.

Also worth noting is PF Dario Saric (knee) and PF/C Frank Kaminsky (hip) are both listed as probable after playing last night. This is a lot of injuries the Suns are dealing with and the B2B puts the Kings in a strong spot. If Both Rubio and Baynes sit, Devin Booker, Jevon Carter and Tyler Johnson see a boost, while Kaminsky would likely eat up most of the minutes at center. Saric would also be in a good spot with no Baynes.

So after not popping up on the injury report at all Monday, the Phoenix Suns ruled out Ricky Rubio due to back spasms prior to their game vs. the Boston Celtics. Rubio has been dealing with the back problems for a while now, but it’s still a bit rude for the Suns to wait until after lock and close to tip-off to let us know. But I digress.

In place of Rubio, former West Virginia great Jevon Carter got into the starting lineup, playing 24 minutes with little fantasy production. Most of the usage went to Devin Booker, who had 20 points in the loss, but it was a tough assignment to begin with against the Celtics, who are top 10 in defensive efficiency this season.

Fantasy Basketball Analysis: Phoenix Suns guards

As I mentioned above, Carter started for Rubio and will likely do so again tonight vs. the Sacramento Kings if Rubio can’t suit up. We don’t yet know Rubio’s status so keep an eye on Twitter and the news feeds. Once we know more we’ll be able to make more of a decision on what to do.

In the meantime, I think it just boosts Booker’s value since he’ll have the ball in his hands more, but it’s not a big upgrade. Rubio is one of the better point guards and facilitators in the NBA, so the Suns get a big downgrade overall on the road. I don’t think I’d really recommend anyone in Rubio’s absence, it’s sort of a black hole of minuscule names who likely won’t see a big enough stat bump.

I will say this seems like a great time to get the Kings at 3-point favorites at home. If Rubio is out, the Suns are on the second of a tough back-to-back and now on the road. Sacramento likely wouldn’t have a tough time covering that spread. The O/U is also set at 217, which is relatively low. All if would take is the Kings pulling away and dropping 120 or so for the OVER to hit, but I’m not sure I’d take anything right now.

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