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What Devin Booker’s absence means to the Suns

CP3, before the announcement: “We all understand we don’t need him in December and January. We’ve got to hold the fort down until he gets ready.”

Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The bad gets worse.

The Phoenix Suns just announced that All-Star Devin Booker, their team MVP and winner of the NBA’s Player of the Month award for the season’s first six weeks (Oct/Nov), will miss at least four weeks if not longer than that.

Just over a week ago, Booker suffered an initial groin injury during his 58-point outburst against New Orleans that forced him to miss the following three games. Monty Williams admitted regret for playing Booker over 42 minutes in that game and he’s played only four since then, exiting the Denver game on Christmas early.

Phoenix, of course, looked much more well-equipped to deal with an absence on Tuesday against Memphis than they did in just about all of the other games he’s missed; it was just their second win without him in six tries, the first one coming at home against the Lakers on Dec. 19.

The given timetable of four weeks before his next evaluation spans across 14 games, starting with the last four games of this six-game road trip, their longest of the year. They match up against playoff (top 6) teams seven times and play-in (7-10) teams on four other occasions within that 14-game slate.

The target date we’re looking at is Jan. 25, an off-day between home games against the Charlotte Hornets and the... Dallas Mavericks, where Booker could make his return.

Holding down the fort starts with the continued success of Duane Washington Jr., who starred for them against Memphis, but it also requires the speedy recoveries of guards like Cam Payne (foot) and Landry Shamet (Achilles) who have missed time.

Cam Johnson may also make his return soon; though we haven’t received an update to his timetable, we’ve seen him at shootarounds, practices, and getting in pregame work. His “1-2 month” timetable is reaching the 2-month mark as he last played on Nov. 4, so the cavalry could be on its way in due time.

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