The Phoenix Suns announced on Thursday that forward P.J. Tucker underwent a successful back operation. It was a microdiscectomy procedure in his lower back, which is expected to keep him sidelined for approximately six to eight weeks.
The versatile 31-year-old will be entering his sixth NBA season and fifth with the Suns. He appeared in all 82 games last season for Phoenix, including 80 starts, and averaged eight points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Though he typically plays at the small forward position, he is strong enough to contend with most opposing fours despite being listed at just 6-6.
Tucker was originally selected 35th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors after a standout career at the University of Texas. Toronto waived Tucker midway through his rookie season before he agreed to go overseas and play for Hapoel Holon in Israel. He led them to an Israeli league title in his first season, breaking a 14-year championship run by powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.
From there, he bounced around Europe, playing in Ukraine, Italy and Germany.
He signed with a Russian team prior to the 2012 season, but opted out of that deal in order to join the Suns’ Summer League squad. Phoenix inked him to a two-year deal that August. In July of 2014, Tucker re-signed with the Suns on a three-year deal worth in excess of $16 million.
The Suns are currently in the midst of a lengthy rebuild. The franchise hasn’t made a playoff appearance since the 2009-2010 campaign and finished just 23-59 last season. Phoenix will open their 2016-2017 season on October 26 when they host the Sacramento Kings.