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Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker: I’ve never felt a pain like that before

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is carried off by teammates during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

PHOENIX – The timeline now has given way to the timetable.

The Phoenix Suns expect guard Devin Booker to be back on the court in two to three weeks. Booker, however, wants to return “as soon as possible” after suffering a left adductor strain in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game at Toronto.

“It’s never ideal for me to miss any games,” he said, “but at the same time, we have to be cautious with it, take our time. I’m in really good hands, best training staff in the NBA that I’m sure is going to have me back on track soon.”

Speaking to reporters prior to the Suns-Wizards game on Thursday, Booker called it a regular play in which he got hurt.

“(My leg) just locked up. I thought it was a cramp at first. I’ve dealt with cramps before but usually it cramps up and then it’ll let you move. But, tried to move my leg back and it wasn’t going anywhere. As you can see. People said I was doing the mannequin challenge,” he said, laughing.

“I couldn’t even move, and I don’t ever want to be carried off a court. Anything in my power, if I could’ve walked, I would’ve walked off but we had to resume the game so my big fellas helped me out.”

Booker needed the help of crutches, and later a wheelchair to get through the airport in Toronto. It was that difficult to move. Even taking off his uniform immediately after the game was difficult.

“I’ve never felt a pain like that before,” he said.

Booker is now walking without any support, though he is walking gingerly and might be for a few more days as the pain subsides.

“Everyday it’s felt better,” he said. “I’m on the right path.”

It’s a path, however, that will likely sideline Booker up to 10 games, and perhaps more.

“I can’t stand sitting in the back watching games. I want to be out there, fighting with my team,” he said.

Without Booker, the Suns lose their top scorer and playmaker, not to mention one of the team’s better defenders.

“This is a big moment for a lot of our players. Obviously, I play a lot of heavy minutes. The ball is in my hand a lot, so this is going to free open a lot of opportunity for people,” he said. “I’m sure everybody is going to step up. Everyone waiting for their opportunity. I know I was when I was in the same situation, so hopefully these guys can go out there, get better and learn through a lot more experience.”

The most games played

At the conclusion of their game on Thursday, the Suns will have completed nearly a third of their schedule, 27 games.

No team has played more often.

Also, the Suns are done with almost half of their 15 scheduled back-to-back sets. They’ve played on consecutive nights seven times in the season’s first eight weeks.

In other words, it’s been a rough start to 2017-18.

“Everybody at the end is going to play 82 games. There’s going to be part of the schedule where, hopefully, we’re sitting at home and rested and a team is coming in here tired. I think it has a way of balancing out,” Jay Triano said.

“We don’t get the marquee games; so sometimes, maybe, we get slid into a spot that is not as favorable. But, that’s on us. That’s on us to turn this around so that we get to play on Christmas Day, if we want to, and to play the marquee games.”

FREE THROWS

— Several Suns players, including forward Dragan Bender, forward Josh Jackson and guard Tyler Ulis, will be visiting with patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital on behalf of Steward Health Care on Friday. They will sign autographs, take photos and play games as well as interact with the families and staff.

— As part of their 50th season celebration, the Suns will host a “Decade Night” honoring the 1980s on Saturday against San Antonio. Former players, including Ring of Honor members Alvan Adams, Walter Davis and Tom Chambers will hold a pregame autograph session and be recognized during the game.

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