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The Phoenix Suns felt the absence of center Jermaine O'Neal during their 27-point loss to the Toronto Raptors at US Airways Center Wednesday night.

While his teammates struggled on the court, O'Neal was dealing with something much more important.

The 17-year veteran left the team Tuesday to be with his 13-year-old daughter, who underwent open heart surgery in Boston.

O'Neal had good news to report Thursday morning via Twitter.

In seven games since the All-Star break, O'Neal was averaging 12.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest. The Suns were 4-3 in that stretch.

He's expected to miss at least the next two games, but no specific timetable has been set for his return.

"We'll just play it by ear. Let him handle his family," Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter said earlier this week.

Arizona Sports,

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