Devin Booker is making rapid progress in his recovery from surgery on his right hand last month, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The Suns‘ leading scorer was shooting with his right hand on Wednesday after having his splint removed. He had an operation September 10 to fix the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint on the hand.
However, Booker still hasn’t been cleared for contact and Phoenix isn’t sure if he’ll be ready in time for the season opener.
“We’re just following the steps,” said coach Igor Kokoskov. “That’s not my jurisdiction. I know nothing about when it comes to medical science. The medical staff, we have one of the best in the league. They’re going to tell us when the next steps are. We’re going to follow those steps being disciplined and wait for him to make the recovery and to play.”
There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:
- Dragan Bender‘s poor play continued in Wednesday’s exhibition game against New Zealand, Rankin adds in a separate story. The Suns didn’t use Bender until the fourth quarter and he committed a couple of costly mistakes, fouling a player shooting a 3-pointer and mishandling a pass. Richaun Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason deal, got more minutes than Bender did.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a serious candidate for playing time in the Clippers‘ crowded backcourt, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. The rookie made a quick impact off the bench in the preseason opener with 10 points, four steals and four assists in 24 minutes of a win over Sydney. He was L.A.’s only young player to see significant time in the game. “I thought in the first half he was fantastic,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought in the second half he was still catching his breath from the first half. Good lesson for him because they don’t back off, teams keep coming.”
- The Lakers aren’t a lock for the playoffs despite adding LeBron James, cautions Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. He predicts L.A. will fail to reach the postseason, citing the number of good teams in the Western Conference, the Lakers’ shortcomings at center, defensive issues, injury concerns involving James and the possibility that some veterans will be unhappy with their playing time.