Suns’ Booker accepts injury, already walking
FILE - MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JANUARY 14: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs as part of NBA Global Games at Arena Ciudad de Mexico on January 14, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Jose M. Romero, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker is able to walk, albeit slowly.
That’s a major step toward recovery from a left adductor strain the Phoenix Suns star guard suffered in the fourth quarter Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time) in Toronto. Booker was carried off the field by teammates, was on crutches the next day and was moved onto the team plane in a wheelchair.
Booker’s timetable for recovery from the groin injury remains at two to three weeks. He moved about dressed in a suit and smiled while answering questions about his injury.
“I’m already walking. Every day it’s felt better since it happened,” Booker said Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) before the Suns’ game against the Washington Wizards. “I’m on the right path.”
Booker thought it was a cramp at first, but when he tried to move, he could not.
“People said I was doing the ’Mannequin Challenge,’” Booker said. “I don’t ever want to be carried off the court. Anything in my power, if I could have walked off I would have walked off. We had to resume the game, so my big fellas helped me out.”
Booker is averaging 24.3 points and has 10 30-point games this season.
Booker spent Thursday (Friday, PHL time) on the bench supporting his teammates. He admitted being out for an extended period of time will be difficult, and pledged not to try to come back too soon and tell trainers the truth about how he feels.
The injury is new territory for Booker, the face of the Suns in his third season. He has played through pain before, but said he’d never felt such pain before.
“It’s never ideal for me to miss games,” Booker said, “but at the same time we have to be cautious with it and take our time.”
The Suns were short-handed with Booker out and center Tyson Chandler away from the team for personal reasons. Forward Derrick Jones Jr. was waived Thursday (Friday, PHL time).
Rookie Josh Jackson started in Booker’s place at shooting guard, and coach Jay Triano said there will be other lineup combinations over the next 10 games.
“He’s a voice for our us anyway,” Triano said about Booker. “He’s been a leader. Even more when you stay in the game mentally, when you’re not playing,” thinking the game, seeing the game and being a part of it. It helps when you return.”