Phoenix Suns star guard Devin Booker does not have a timetable to return from a right hamstring injury that caused him to leave Sunday’s game early, according to Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com.
With just two minutes before the end of the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers, Booker was sprinting back on defense when he pulled up with a strained left hamstring. After limping off the floor, Booker had to go to the locker room and did not return to play.
Booker has faced a handful of injuries this season, including a toe injury that forced him to miss Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Booker also missed three games in October after straining the very same hamstring in the Suns’ fourth game of the season.
Given that this is the second time his hamstring will cause him to miss time, the Suns will likely be more cautious this second go-around. Booker — who is averaging a team-high 23.5 points and 6.7 assists per game — is too valuable to miss for a truly extended amount of time.
How does this affect the Suns’ rotation?
The Suns have a young, talented roster, but they were already dangerously thin at point guard before Booker went down again. Booker isn’t even a natural 1-guard by trade, but a late August deal of Brandon Knight to the Houston Rockets left the dynamic guard as the team’s best remaining ball handler.
Earlier in the season when Booker went down, the Suns leaned on Isaiah Canaan, but the veteran point guard — and his non-guaranteed contract — have since been released due to on-court performance.
The two best in-house options for the Suns are both 2018 second-round picks. Elie Okobo (drafted 31st overall) is averaging 6.9 points and 2.5 assists in 18.4 minutes per game, while De’Anthony Melton (drafted 46th overall) has only scored 13 points in the six games he’s appeared in.
Can the Suns become competitive?
Suns owner Robert Sarver said before the season that it is “time to start figuring out how to win” now that the team has several talented lottery picks in Booker, No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Josh Jackson. However, the team is off to a 4-19 start, which is the worst mark in the league.
To make matters worse, Phoenix is 0-4 in the games Booker has missed with an average margin of 18 points in each loss. The Suns still have a promising core, but the season is looking more and more like a lost cause.
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