The Suns were clear championship favorites.
Until Devin Booker got hurt.
The star guard strained his hamstring eight days ago and was reportedly expected to miss 2-3 weeks. He’s apparently nearing a return, though.
Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker is progressing on a return soon, possibly for Game 6 on Thursday or a potential Game 7 on Saturday in the franchise’s Western Conference first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans, sources told ESPN.
The expectation is that Booker would return in limited minutes, sources said.
The Suns are expected to list Booker as “out” on the team’s injury report on Wednesday, but that could be adjusted in the hours leading up to Thursday’s Game 6 to reflect Booker’s possible progress.
If the Suns already know Booker might return for Game 6, how can they justify listing him as “out” rather than “doubtful” for Game 6? How can the NBA, which is touting transparency while courting gambling money, allow that?
The Suns have looked more vulnerable without Booker. Up 3-2 on the Pelicans, Phoenix should win this series regardless. But bigger issue is Booker missing time or being hobbled against the Mavericks or Jazz in the second round.
There are still questions about when exactly Booker will return, how quickly he’ll regain his form and whether he’ll avoid re-aggravating the injury while playing through it.
But if Booker is this close to returning, even if he doesn’t play Thursday, that’s a great sign for Phoenix.