Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, one of the leading contenders for the NBA's Most Improved Player award, is out indefinitely after the team determined that Bledsoe needs a surgical procedure to repair cartilage in his right knee, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com that the exact scope and severity of the injury will not be known until Bledsoe is in a surgeon's care, but he is suspected to have suffered meniscus damage in his Dec. 30 return to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. Bledsoe was selected No. 18 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Thunder, who immediately traded him to the Clippers.

Bledsoe has missed the Suns' last four games with what the team announced earlier this week as a sprained knee.

The electric 24-year-old is averaging 18.0 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in Phoenix in his first stint as a full-time NBA starter, forming a dangerous backcourt tandem with Goran Dragic that has sparked the Suns to a wholly unexpected 21-13 start.