Stoudemire out for regular season after eye surgery

Clearly, this is not how the Suns wanted to start the second half of the season.

The beleaguered Suns announced Friday that Amare Stoudemire was forced to undergo eye surgery to repair a partially detached retina suffered in a Wednesday night rout of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is Stoudemire’s second eye injury since October and the All-Star forward could miss the rest of the regular season.

Stoudemire’s return to physical activity has been estimated at eight weeks by the Suns. He underwent surgery Friday morning, although the club said in a statement that “recovery varies on a case-by-case basis.”

The Suns were just starting to feel a sense of optimism about salvaging something from this painful season after replacing coach Terry Porter with Alvin Gentry on Monday, ringing up 280 points in back-to-back victories over the Clippers and getting the go-ahead Thursday from owner Robert Sarver to keep hold of Stoudemire and Shaquille O’Neal after shopping both this month in an attempt to significantly reduce Sarver’s payroll.

But the injury suffered by Stoudemire when he was poked in the eye during his 42-point game against the Clippers means the Suns will have to try to make the playoffs without him, which was not going to be easy even with a healthy Stoudemire. The Suns awoke Friday as the West’s No. 9 team in an eight-team race with a record of 30-23, one game short of the eighth spot.

This is obviously a huge blow for the Suns, who made the decision to move forward with Stoudemire after trade discussions with a number of teams. It’s going to be tough for Phoenix to make the playoffs without their power forward, and even if he can return in two months, what kind of shape will he be in?

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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