Shut down Devin Booker? Not so fast

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19: Devin Booker
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19: Devin Booker /

With only five games left until the All-Star Break, the debate has begun: should the Phoenix Suns shut down a banged up Devin Booker through the break, or let him rest for a couple of days and get him back out there?

The NBA season is a grind. We are about 65% of the way through the 82 game slate that’s filled with countless back-to-backs, road trips, and red eyes. This is right about the time the wear and tear starts to catch up with players.

Unfortunately, Devin Booker is no exception.

Coach Triano put it best:

"“This league is cruel. If you’re a little bit under 100%, someone’s going to exploit you.”"

Well, Devin Booker is not 100%, and he probably hasn’t been 100% for at least the last week or so.

Let’s recap what we know:

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

1/27- AZCentral’s Scott Bordow asks Devin about the possibility of a right hand injury, but Devin denies.

1/27- Coach Triano mentions Devin is dealing with an “upper-body” injury.

1/28– Devin takes a hard fall after falling for a pump fake; x-rays are negative, rib contusion.

1/29-Devin sits out with bruised ribs.

2/4-Devin leaves early with a left hip pointer after taking a knee to his hip.

I think it’s safe to say Devin is pretty banged up. So what should the Suns do? Clearly this is a guy that could use a day off, but should the Suns actually shut him down until the break? (Their final game is February 4, and their first game back is February 23. He could potentially rest for 19 Days, save for the 3-Point shooting contest of which he is a competitor.)

I don’t think they  should. And by “they” I mean the Suns. This isn’t a decision that needs to come from Triano and his staff. This is a decision that needs to come from Devin. Yes, he’s able to play through pain, but he also knows when he just can’t do it.

Devin isn’t the type of player that will agree to sit out a handful of games if it is possible for him to play. He has a knack for playing banged up, that’s just who he is. I don’t think he’ll be too accepting of the idea of being shut down unless he physically can’t play.

But, that’s what scares me about this. For Devin to say that he “can’t physically play” if he tried at this moment in time, he may be a little bit more than just banged up.

He’s been playing through this rib injury. He’s been wearing a rib protector, and toughing it out. And on Sunday, after he took a knee to his hip, he tried to play. Then he realized he just couldn’t do it.

I think the Suns need to trust Devin on this one. He knew well enough that he needed to be taken out of the game on Sunday, and he’ll know when he feels up to playing again. This shouldn’t be for the Suns to decide.

There’s a difference too between wanting to shut Devin down and actually needing to shut him down. As much as an extended break could benefit him, I don’t think he’s reached the point of feeling like he needs  to be shut down.

Of course, none of us want him to make any of these injuries worse. His health comes first. But at the same time, deciding today (February 6th) that he won’t play until after February 14th might not be the way to handle this. After a Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back, the Suns don’t play again until Saturday.

Devin trusts this training staff a lot. He spoke very highly of them after they had him walking just days after his adductor injury in December. If they can get him feeling well enough to play, I think he’s going to play.

In my opinion, this is something Triano, Devin, and the training staff need to take day-by-day. This isn’t a decision that should be made over a week in advance. This is a decision that needs to be made every single game day.

Next: Let’s not give up on Devin Booker just yet

If Devin has it his way, my guess is that he’ll play again before the All-Star Break. He’s going to take a day today (Tuesday), and probably should tomorrow, too.  But if he feels he can move a lot better tomorrow, he’s going to want to play.

That’s just who Devin is, and the Suns are lucky to have him. He wants to be out there fighting and grinding. He loves “hooping,” even if he’s not 100% when he’s doing it.