Suns G Devin Booker out vs. Trail Blazers, in health and safety protocols

Mar 2, 2022, 11:16 AM | Updated: 1:41 pm

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game agains...

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is in health and safety protocols and will not play Wednesday as the team hosts the Portland Trail Blazers at Footprint Center, per the team.

As for when he will be available, the NBA in late December shortened the policy on returning if a player tests positive to five days provided they are vaccinated, symptom free and are testing below a set cycle threshold, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.

Previously, the league had a 10-day quarantine period.

Booker, who missed time before the season due to COVID-19, confirmed he was fully vaccinated before the season. Fully vaccinated players are generally not sidelined due to contact tracing but undergo daily testing.

Phoenix plays Wednesday, Friday vs. New York, Sunday at Milwaukee, Tuesday at Orlando and Wednesday at Miami.

It is not known when Booker, who was seen at practice on Tuesday, tested positive.

Players can also still test out of quarantine with two negative tests 24 hours apart.

As for the immediate future, Booker’s absence throws another challenge at head coach Monty Williams, who is entering the fourth game without starting point guard Chris Paul (thumb).

The Suns (49-12) had started forward Cam Johnson in place of Paul, pushing Booker to play as the point guard for heavy stretches.

As of Wednesday morning, Phoenix still lists point guard Cam Payne (wrist) as probable to return. He would give the team another primary ballhandler but has not played since Jan. 22 due to his injury.

Booker, a three-time All-Star, is averaging 25.6 points (11th in the NBA) to go with 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

With him out and Payne’s status unclear, trade deadline acquisition Aaron Holiday and backup point guard Elfrid Payton could see more playing time. Landry Shamet could also be forced into more of an initiating role.

The Blazers-Suns game will air on ESPN and 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Tip-off Wednesday is set for 8 p.m.

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