Suns’ Gortat expected to miss 3-4 weeks

– Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat is expected to miss the next three to four weeks after an MRI on Thursday revealed a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot.

The injury occurred with 34.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s 98-71 loss to Toronto when Gortat stepped on another player’s foot. It will end a streak of 182 consecutive games played by Gortat for the Suns since being acquired from Orlando in a Dec. 18, 2010 trade. He has started 138 games in a row and is averaging 11.1 points per game. He leads the team with averages of 8.5 rebounds and 1.61 blocks.

“I actually stepped on someone’s toe or foot with my heel, and that’s why … I don’t know what happened, I just heard a pop,” Gortat said after Wednesday night’s game.

“I definitely heard a pop in my foot, and I knew right away it wasn’t an ankle, it was just my arch. Obviously, I’ve got a big bruise and pain.”

Gortat’s backup, Jermaine O’Neal, is currently away from the team to be with his daughter, who was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday to repair a leaky heart valve. He is expected to miss at least a couple more games.

With 21 games and less than six weeks remaining in the season, it’s possible that Gortat could be out for the season — which might be construed by some as a positive development in the team’s jockeying for draft lottery position. Through Wednesday’s games, the Suns were tied for sixth in the race for the bottom, but within one game of third.