NEW ORLEANS (AP) — All-Star guard Devin Booker returned to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night for Game 6 against the New Orleans Pelicans after missing three games because of a strained right hamstring.
“He’ll be playing tonight,” Suns coach Monty Williams said.
Booker started and played the first seven minutes, making one of two shots with 2 assists and a rebound.
After scoring 31 points in the first half of Game 2, Booker was injured early in the second when he landed awkwardly trying to block a fast-break attempt.
“Nothing jaw-dropping,” Williams said about Booker’s return with the Suns up 3-2 in the series. “It always was getting more conditioning, doing more on the floor.”
Williams said Booker, who averaged 26.8 points and 34.4 minutes in the regular season, would not play his regular amount of minutes.
First shot. First Book bucket. pic.twitter.com/JhVb51SmSX
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 28, 2022
“He won’t play his normal 36, 38, 40 workload, but it still gives you a bit more balance,” Williams said. “It also gives you roster balance. It helps to kind of settle the order of the team a little bit.”
Booker participated in just light shooting during a practice session Wednesday.
New Orleans coach Willie Green said before the game that the Pelicans had two defensive game plans — one with Booker in the lineup and one without him.
“We’re preparing for both,” Green said. “If he plays, we’ll be ready. If he doesn’t, we need to be ready to go out and execute our game plan.”