The Phoenix Suns announced that star shooting guard Devin Booker will not return to his team's home game against the Golden State Warriors after suffering a left hamstring injury.
Booker left the game with 5:59 remaining in the first half. Cameron Johnson substituted in for Booker, and the Suns closed the second quarter with a five of Johnson, Chris Paul, Cameron Payne, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton.
Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
With Devin Booker out for rest of game with left hamstring injury, this is something that he's had before and came back from.<br><br>So for the long term, he'll be back.<br><br>For short term, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Suns?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Suns</a> can go a bunch of different ways, but right now, it's Paul, Payne, Bridges, Johnson and Ayton
By the numbers, the 25-year-old's 2020-21 season wasn't too different from the five years preceding it. He averaged 25.6 points on 48.4 percent shooting, nearly equal to 2019-20 (26.6 points; 48.9 percent).
However, Booker eliminated any doubt as to whether he can be the top star on a franchise with championship ambitions. He put up 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in the playoffs as Phoenix reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.
The Suns kept all of their key players from last year, most notably giving Chris Paul a four-year, $120 million extension. Running it back was the sensible approach for general manager James Jones because he didn't need to reshuffle the roster and there wasn't a trade on the table that would've significantly raised Phoenix's ceiling.
But that meant the team will again need Booker to play at an All-Star level to remain a top-four threat in the Western Conference. His absence leaves a major void in the backcourt.
If Booker is forced to miss any time, then Ayton, Bridges and Johnson may need to assume larger roles in the offense. Landry Shamet will presumably see more minutes as well.
Phoenix will have a day off before returning to the court at home Thursday against the Detroit Pistons.