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Devin Booker could be cleared to play as soon as opening night

The star guard’s right hand is progressing more quickly than expected and general manager Ryan McDonough was optimistic about his chances to play at home against the Mavericks in three weeks.

Suns guard Devin Booker could be ready to play as soon as Oct. 17 — opening night — at home against the Mavericks, general manager Ryan McDonough said Monday at Suns Media Day.

McDonough explained that the sutures in Booker’s hand were removed last week and that Booker has been heavily involved in practices and workouts since Sept. 9 surgery repaired a damaged pinkie joint in his right hand.

Booker is able to run through sets, participate in cardio workouts and has been working on lefty shooting and ball-handling since the surgery, McDonough said. “Everything’s progressed well so far,” he said.

The general manager also added that Booker passed his preseason conditioning test despite being in recovery.

“Hopefully over the next week or so, he’s able to start working back with the right hand again,” McDonough said. Booker will be re-evaluated in the next week or so, and the next step will be gaining mobility in his right hand. If he progresses along that timeline, he should be ready right around the time of opening night.

The injury took Booker himself off guard, the fourth-year playmaker said Monday. After dealing with the injury initially in March, Booker said he woke up one morning late in the summer and noticed the swelling had returned.

But even at the end of last season, fresh off the injury, Booker was on the court before every game during warmups, trying to get ready to play. He probably would have missed less time if the Suns were more competitive.

The new season presents a big opportunity for Booker as a leader and playmaker, and history suggests he’ll be on the court as quickly as possible.

Asked how seriously he would take the possibility of Booker playing that night, at home against Dallas, McDonough said, “I would take it pretty seriously, from what I’ve seen and what I know.”

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