Suns shut down Eric Bledsoe for remainder of season

The Phoenix Suns will sit point guard Eric Bledsoe, who has been battling knee soreness, for the final 14 games of the season.

General manager Ryan McDonough said Thursday the decision to sit Bledsoe was made to give the 27-year-old point guard some rest and further expand playing time for the team's younger players, particularly rookie Tyler Ulis.

Bledsoe sat out the Suns' 107-101 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night in what was termed as a "management decision" by coach Earl Watson. Ulis started in his place and had 13 points and a career-high 13 assists.

"I don't think any coaching staff would hold 'Bled' out, but Tyler stepped up," Watson said.

McDonough knows the Bledsoe decision will be seen as a sign the team is looking to lose more games to improve its draft status but said that the young players have played well and been competitive in expanded roles.

Bledsoe, who has been playing through the pain in his left knee, had missed just one game this season before Wednesday. He is the team's second-leading scorer at 21.1 points per game, and he also averaged 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.

"Bled's been great. He had a great season. He played at a high level," Watson said. "He's been dominant all year. He's taken a big leap in the right direction. There's a lot of room for him to grow and he's excited about that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.