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Phoenix Suns

Updated Feb 21, 2014 - 11:48 pm

Phoenix Suns GM: We're expecting Eric Bledsoe to be back sometime this year

There are a multitude of reasons for why the Phoenix Suns decided not to make a trade before Thursday's deadline, most of which are very legitimate.

At 33-21, the team is playing pretty well as currently constructed, so who is to say any extra "help" is even necessary?

And besides, part of what makes things so exciting for the team is that it is playing well now while appearing to be set up nicely for the future, with plenty of draft picks and cap space at its disposal.

Both president of basketball operations Lon Babby and general manager Ryan McDonough maintained all along a deal would not be made unless it benefited the team both in the short and long term, and nothing that would have done that became an option.

There's one other reason the team didn't make a trade, though, and his name is Eric Bledsoe.

"Eric's rehab has gone very well," McDonough told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday. "We don't have a timetable yet on when exactly he'll be back, but he has progressed to the point where he's doing some running now, some jogging, and he's doing some spot shooting.

"I think the next step will be to integrate him into practices, either a full team practice or maybe start with some one-on-one, two-on-two, just to get him playing competitively again."

Bledsoe, 24, last played in a game on Dec. 30, where he hurt his knee. It was later revealed that he had hurt the meniscus in his right knee, which later required surgery. Prior to that, he was averaging 18 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.

The team has continued to play well in his absence, but there's little doubt they'd be better with him.

McDonough said Bledsoe has been working hard to get back on the court while making sure not to do anything that would jeopardize the progress he's made up to this point.

"We're expecting him to be back sometime later this year," the GM said. "And that's another thing that factored into our decision-making at the deadline.

"To get guys who average close to 20 points and five rebounds and five assists, play great defense, those guys are hard to find and we've been successful enough without one of them, and we're hoping to get one back pretty soon."

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