EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Devin Booker continuing to ramp up, will miss 3rd straight Suns preseason game

Oct 9, 2021, 2:53 PM
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns greets Chris Paul #3 as he walks to the bench during the NBA pr...
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns greets Chris Paul #3 as he walks to the bench during the NBA preseason game at Footprint Center on October 06, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 117-105. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker is still progressing his way toward being game-ready for the 2021-22 season.

Everything looks to be on schedule after a long year of basketball, so there’s no need to be alarmed. Booker went straight to Japan to start for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the Suns’ season ended, getting officially done with competitive basketball less than two months before training camp started.

Then, a week before practice got underway, Booker came down with COVID-19 that forced him to miss the first couple of days.

Like it would be for anyone, it has been a gradual process for Booker to work his way back, playing in a controlled 5-on-5 setting for the first time on Saturday. So, not quite arriving at the real deal yet in a scrimmage, but close.

“If you think about it, Flagstaff (training camp two seasons ago) until now, he played a lot of basketball,” Williams said Tuesday. “But during that hiatus, Book was still finding gyms to go get shots, I think we have to be, not cautious, but smart with how we ramp him up.”

Williams said on Tuesday that you could see Booker developing more pop in his movement over his initial handful of practices. And on Saturday, there was a noticeable increase in the amount of sweat on Booker’s shirt, which was drenched.

Williams said that Booker will not play in the team’s third preseason game on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers, making it the third straight Booker sits out.

“We’re progressing every day … I think once I get some good bump in that’ll be the tell if I’m ready to go or not,” Booker said on Friday.

The Suns’ preseason finale is on Wednesday at home when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers. That could line him up to play then, but even if he doesn’t, there’s a week from then until the season opener, so the time is there for him to get right.

Booker has certainly earned that after how much court time he’s logged.

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