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Report: Devin Booker could return in Suns-Pelicans Game 6

Devin Booker at New Orleans Pelicans v Phoenix Suns - Game Five

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 26: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts from the bench during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 26, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Pelicans 112-97. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The Suns were clear championship favorites.

Until Devin Booker got hurt.

The star guard strained his hamstring eight days ago and was reportedly expected to miss 2-3 weeks. He’s apparently nearing a return, though.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker is progressing on a return soon, possibly for Game 6 on Thursday or a potential Game 7 on Saturday in the franchise’s Western Conference first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans, sources told ESPN.

The expectation is that Booker would return in limited minutes, sources said.

The Suns are expected to list Booker as “out” on the team’s injury report on Wednesday, but that could be adjusted in the hours leading up to Thursday’s Game 6 to reflect Booker’s possible progress.

If the Suns already know Booker might return for Game 6, how can they justify listing him as “out” rather than “doubtful” for Game 6? How can the NBA, which is touting transparency while courting gambling money, allow that?

The Suns have looked more vulnerable without Booker. Up 3-2 on the Pelicans, Phoenix should win this series regardless. But bigger issue is Booker missing time or being hobbled against the Mavericks or Jazz in the second round.

There are still questions about when exactly Booker will return, how quickly he’ll regain his form and whether he’ll avoid re-aggravating the injury while playing through it.

But if Booker is this close to returning, even if he doesn’t play Thursday, that’s a great sign for Phoenix.