The Phoenix Suns announced All-Star guard Devin Booker will be out much longer than anticipated, as he suffered a left groin strain that will shut him down four weeks before reevaluation.
Booker has missed the Suns’ last three games before Christmas Day, as he was experiencing groin soreness. But when the Suns had the Denver Nuggets on their schedule on Christmas, he tried to get back out on the court.
That proved not to be the right call.
Booker played four minutes for Phoenix before he had to come out of the game. By the second half, he was seen in street clothes on the bench rooting for his teammates.
Missing at least one month means Booker will miss 15 games at a minimum. It’s a huge blow for the Suns, as their top scorer, who averages 27.1 points per game so far this season, won’t be available.
Booker quickly became a scoring threat when the Suns drafted him out of Kentucky before the 2015-16 season.
After finding his footing following his rookie season, Booker has averaged at least 22 points per game in each season since 2016-17. He was also named to the All-Star roster for the last three seasons.
With Booker out of the starting five, the Suns have been using Landry Shamet at shooting guard. However, Shamet was ruled out against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night with right Achilles soreness after having a breakout game against the Nuggets Sunday, scoring 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting over 39 minutes of play. He was 7-of-17 from three-point land with two rebounds and six assists as well.
With Cam Payne and Cam Johnson also dealing with injuries, head coach Monty Williams will have to use Damion Lee and Duane Washington Jr. to fill Booker’s void. There’s also Josh Okogie who could play small forward, while Mikal Bridges, the starter at that position, moves to shooting guard.
The Suns are the current No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with a 20-15 record on the season. They will hope to remain in the playoff race as Booker aims to get healthy.