Devin Booker will play in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, wearing a face mask to protect the stitches he got in his nose after a collision in Game 2.
He reached out to former Detroit Pistons star Richard Hamilton for advice on how to play with the mask, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Hamilton advised him to keep it on for the entire game and use it as extra protection.
Hamilton was known for wearing a protective mask since he broke his nose twice in the 2003-04 season and was told to wear it for the remainder of his career less he risk nasal reconstructive surgery.
Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols
Davin Booker told me his nose was in fact broken in THREE places but that doctors reset it yesterday & the swelling has gone down significantly. Still, he will wear a mask tonight. I asked if the mask limited his peripheral vision; he told me “all I need to see is the basket.” 😎 https://t.co/KV4HTAny6Q
Booker and Patrick Beverley banged heads near the end of the third quarter Tuesday, and both players headed to the locker room for treatment afterward. Suns head coach Monty Williams said that Booker got stitches before the start of the fourth quarter.
He finished with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds in the 104-103 victory.
"He was probably playing with a great deal of pain," Williams told reporters after the game. "I thought he broke his nose when I saw it. I worried about the blood continuing to flow."
Several other players have turned to Hamilton for guidance regarding playing with a mask, including Joel Embiid, JR Smith and the late Kobe Bryant. With his legacy being the iconic face mask, it only makes sense that Hamilton is starting his own protective mask line, as Spears reported.
The Suns have a 2-0 lead in the series, with Game 3 tipping at 9 p.m. ET.