Suns’ Booker set to return from hand surgery for opener

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker, just five weeks removed from right hand surgery, is expected to play in the season opener Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks.

FILE PHOTO: Basketball – San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns – NBA Global Games – Arena Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico – 14/1/17. Devin Booker (1) of Phoenix Suns and LaMarcus Aldridge (12) of San Antonio Spurs in action. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

On Sept. 10, Booker had an operation to repair the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint in his shooting hand. The team estimated his recovery time at six weeks, but he will beat that projection.

“Devin’s going to play on Wednesday,” Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said Monday. “There’s no secret. He’s ready, he’s playing, he’s excited. He’s our big rock.”

Kokoskov added, “Devin is doing great. He’s in a good place. Very vocal, very active, looks healthy.”

Booker hasn’t played in the preseason, and he has been practicing with his right pinkie and ring finger taped together.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 24, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker poses for a portrait during Phoenix Suns media day at Annexus Practice Court at Talking Stick Resor. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix forward Ryan Anderson said of Booker, “It’s just a completely different game when he’s in. I’m really excited for Wednesday, for him to get … a little bit more experience outside the practice court. We’re going to have to build chemistry like everybody else.

“Book’s going to have to obviously get his timing back, get everything back, but he’s such a great talent. Just having him back on the court it’s — I’m really, really excited about it for myself. It just feels good to have the full team back at it.”

Booker, who turns 22 on Oct. 30, signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension this summer. He averaged more than 22 points per game in each of the past two seasons for Phoenix.

The former Kentucky star produced a career-best 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game in his third NBA season in 2017-18.

The Suns selected Booker with the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

—Field Level Media

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