Suns' Isaiah Canaan fractured left ankle in horrific fall vs. Mavericks

In the closing seconds of the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns guard Isaiah Canaan landed awkwardly on a layup attempt and fractured his left ankle, suffering a gruesome injury that resulted in him being carried off the court on a stretcher.

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With five seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Canaan raced down the court, looking to add to an early 18-point Suns lead before the buzzer sounded. As he elevated for a layup, Dallas defenders Wesley Matthews and Yogi Ferrell converged in an attempt to protect the rim. Canaan was thrown off-balance by the contact from Matthews, landing flat with all of his weight on his left ankle, which bent in an unnatural fashion.

It was immediately clear that something was very, very wrong. ESPN color commentator Jon Barry exclaimed, “Oh, no!” Play-by-play man Dave Pasche said, “Awful landing. Don’t look. The left leg. Oh, man. That is unfortunate.”

The other players on the court, and on the Suns bench, all reacted in shock. So, it seemed, did Canaan, who stayed stunningly still in the paint as he waited for medical personnel to come to his aid.

I’m not going to post a video of the play itself. The reactions tell the story just fine by themselves.

Shortly after Canaan was wheeled back to the locker room, the Suns gave official word:

The 6-foot Canaan, a two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and 2012 Second-Team All-American at Murray State, was a second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets back in 2013. The undersized guard has faced a hard road to carving out a niche at the NBA level, earning D-League All-Star honors in 2014 before breaking into the Rockets’ rotation during the 2014-15 season. That stay was short-lived, though, as he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers at the 2015 trade deadline.

Related: See the worst sports injuries of last year: 

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Warning: Some of these injuries may be difficult to look at. Viewer discretion is advised. 

Brand new Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia within the first few minutes of Boston's season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone on October 15, 2017 while playing against the Minnesota Vikings. Prior to Week 15, Rodgers said he had been medically cleared to return

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Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller nearly lost his leg after he landed awkwardly during a touchdown catch -- that was later overturned.

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's season ended after a ruptured Achilles tendon during Thursday Night Football.

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Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt's season ended after he injured his left knee on October 8.

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On March 6, Andrew Bogut broke his leg less than one minute into his debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Johan Camargo of the Atlanta Braves fell to the ground running onto the field in a strange freak accident.

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown broke his hand, ending his season after Week 14. 

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Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a scary injury that left him motionless on the field and may have ended his football career.

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In the first game of the season, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs ruptured his Achilles tendon, ending his season.

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On October 8, Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a scary-looking injury to his ankle and was carted off the field in tears

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Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper suffered a bone bruise after landing awkwardly on first base during a game in August. 

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New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was ruled out for the entire season after tearing his ACL during a preseason game.

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Rookie running back Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings tore his ACL during Week 4, ending his season. 

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San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner missed 3 months of the 2017 season after suffering a shoulder injury in a dirt biking accident. 

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Running back David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals dislocated his wrist during the Cardinals' season opener. It was announced that he would miss the entire season.

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New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard was sidelined for much of the season after tearing a lat muscle in April.

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Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights missed 25 games after taking a knee to the head on October 15. 

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Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout spent time on the disabled list for the first time in his career this season after tearing a ligament in his thumb. He missed 39 games.

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Isaiah Thomas was sidelined by a hip injury during the Eastern Conference Finals. When he was later traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, further issues with his hip nearly nullified the agreement. 

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Impressive young quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans sustained an ACL injury during practice in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the year.

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Tom Savage, who took over for the injured Watson, suffered an unsettling concussion during Week 14 play that had many questioning the NFL's injury protocol. 

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck did not play a game in 2017 after undergoing shoulder surgery.

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Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to his face on October 29, sidelining him for up to two months after surgery.

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Jeremy Lin of the Brooklyn Nets will miss the entire season after tearing a tendon in his knee during the team's season opener.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz went down in Week 14 with a torn ACL, ending his season and shaking the team's Super Bowl hopes.

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Canaan would make 51 starts in parts of two seasons in Philly for the rebuilding Sixers before linking up with the Chicago Bulls for a deep-bench role last season. After being waived last summer, the 26-year-old guard had short stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Rockets before finding himself back on the market, looking for a home. He found one in Phoenix in mid-December, earning rotation minutes for a team focused on the future and looking for answers in the backcourt after trading away Eric Bledsoe. Canaan averaged 9.4 points and 4.2 assists in 22.9 minutes per game in his first 18 appearances in Phoenix, including one start.

Immediately after word of Canaan’s injury began to spread, support for the injured guard started pouring in, both from his former college coach, Steve Prohm …

… and around the NBA community:

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NBA reacts to Isaiah Canaan's gruesome ankle injury
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NBA reacts to Isaiah Canaan's gruesome ankle injury
Our thoughts are with you, @SiP03. https://t.co/1C8tk5LRoA
Yooooooooo 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 @SiP03
🙏🙏🙏 for my boy @SiP03
Wow pray for @SiP03 🙏🏽 #Wow
Prayers up for @SiP03 ...🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Hate seeing stuff like that. 🙏 Prayers up to my homie @SiP03
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 for my lil bro @SiP03 damn man!!!!
Prayers up to @SiP03 Isaiah Canaan 🙏
Prayers up for my bro Isaiah Canaan
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We’ll provide more updates on the injury and Canaan’s status as information becomes available.

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Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

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