PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Devin Booker no stranger to hamstring injuries over his NBA career

Apr 20, 2022, 8:27 AM
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center o...
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on February 08, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was playing lights out until right hamstring tightness late in the third quarter relegated him to the bench as the New Orleans Pelicans took Game 2 of the first-round playoff matchup Tuesday night.

Now, as the Suns head to New Orleans for Game 3 tied at 1-1, Booker’s status remains up in the air.

It’s not the first time Booker has dealt with hamstring issues over the course of his NBA career, however.

A look at the guard’s previous hamstring injuries and what transpired upon his return to the court:

2021-22

Booker missed seven straight games early on this season with a left hamstring injury suffered in a Nov. 30 win over the Golden State Warriors. He was the Suns’ leading scorer with 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting (44.4%) before departing the game in the first half.

Despite the guard being sidelined amid an 18-3 start, the Suns managed a 5-2 record in his absence.

Booker eventually returned to the court 19 days later on Dec. 19.

In an absolute beatdown of the Charlotte Hornets, Booker scored 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting (4-of-8 from long range) to go along with six rebounds, five assists and a steal.

The Suns rattled off three consecutive wins with Booker back in the lineup.

2020-21

Fourteen games into last season, Booker was sidelined for four contests with a left hamstring issue suffered in an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 22.

The guard played over 40 minutes before landing awkwardly while going for a rebound.

Booker missed the next four games, with Phoenix going 2-2 in his absence.

He made his return nine days later on Feb. 1 in a 109-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. In just over 31 minutes of action, Booker scored 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting (4-of-8 from three-point land) to go along with a board and a steal.

With Booker back in the lineup, the Suns won seven of their next eight games, highlighted by a six-game winning streak.

The hamstring issues didn’t stop there, however.

While it wasn’t known at the time, head coach Monty Williams admitted this offseason that Booker was benched in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks due to a hamstring injury. Williams did not specify which hamstring was injured.

Booker was clearly not himself in the Game 3 loss, scoring 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting (1-of-7 from deep) to go along with six rebounds and two assists.

And although the guard didn’t miss any other games in the series, Phoenix dropped three more games, ending its championship run after leading 2-0.

2018-19

In his fourth NBA season, Booker was sidelined three games with a left hamstring strain from Oct. 27-31 amid a 1-7 start for Phoenix.

He eventually made his return six days later in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 2. In the defeat, Booker scored 18 points on 8-of-20 shooting (2-of-7 from deep) to go along with four rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.

A month later, Booker reaggravated the left hamstring strain in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and missed an additional six contests.

The guard returned 13 days later in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting (3-of-6 from long range) to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

Then came a pair of missed matchups from Feb. 6-8 due to right hamstring tightness during a 17-game losing skid.

Booker returned to the court six days later in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. The guard scored 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting (3-of-5 from long range) to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

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