Suns update: Torrey Craig (groin) out, Chris Paul (heel) day-to-day

Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig was ruled out for Friday’s home game against Houston with a right groin strain after being limited in Thursday’s practice.

Playing in all 21 game for Phoenix (15-6) so far this season, Craig has started 13 games in place of Cam Johnson, who is working his way back from a torn right meniscus he suffered Nov. 4 against Portland.

Johnson had a procedure done Nov. 8 and is looking to return within two months of that date. Johnson began the season as the starting four as Jae Crowder, after the Suns “mutually agreed” the veteran forward wouldn’t attend training camp.

Phoenix has been trying to trade Crowder.

“It’s just finding the right fit and we just haven’t been able to find that yet,” said Suns GM James Jones about a possible trade involving Crowder.

More:Part 2: Suns GM James Jones talks Jae Crowder, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Damion Lee

DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against Torrey Craig #0 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on Nov. 30, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona.
DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against Torrey Craig #0 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on Nov. 30, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Craig has averaged 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and shooting 36.7% from 3 in his 13 as a starter. The Suns has several options on who to start tonight against the Rockets (5-16).

If they want to start small, Damion Lee and Ish Wainright are ideal choices. If they choose to play big, Jock Landale and Dario Saric may work.

The Suns will also be without Chris Paul as he’ll miss a 12th straight game Friday with what the team continued to call a sore right heel.

“He’s been here every day,” Suns All-Star Devin Booker said. “He hasn’t missed a day with us. He’s around it. You know how he is. He’s keeping everybody locked in, saying the things that he sees and still being effective while not playing. We want him to be healthy, we want him to be ready to go and we want to make sure of that before he comes back.”

On Tuesday, Jones said Paul is “close” to returning and that the injury is just a sore right heel.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) against the Adelaide 36ers at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Oct. 2, 2022.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) against the Adelaide 36ers at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Oct. 2, 2022.

Team officials added Friday that Paul is day-to-day. He was scheduled for a re-evaluation last week.

Paul last spoke on the injury Nov. 13 after practice the day before Phoenix lost at Miami to conclude a four-game road trip. At the time, he was being listed as questionable.

“When I’m able and ready to play, I’ll be out there,” Paul said.

Paul has been requested for interviews several times by the media since then and he hasn’t been made available.

Cameron Payne has started in Paul's place as the Suns are 8-3 without Paul. Payne is averaging 15.6 points, 6.7 assists to 2.3 turnovers and shooting 41% from 3 in his 11 starts.

The Suns have won a season-best six in a row.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Suns update: Torrey Craig (groin) out, Chris Paul (heel) day-to-day