It would be fair to say that the one thing that has really held the Phoenix Suns back so far this season has been injury. Bradley Beal has barely featured at all for the team, while Devin Booker has missed time with foot and calf issues. As of this moment, he is questionable to face the Memphis Grizzlies with an ankle issue sustained in the Suns' recent loss to the Toronto Raptors.
That snapped a seven game winning streak for the organization - and as much as Booker's commitment to the cause can never be questioned after trying to play on after rolling his ankle - it looks like it may now do more harm than good. The smart thing to do would have been to shut Booker down up north, as he ended up only managing eight points in 33 minutes of action anyway.
Now he is unlikely to play against the Grizzlies, with an in-season tournament quarter-final looming on the horizon after that. Lifting that new trophy was never the goal for this campaign, but any time you're one game from playing in Las Vegas and three from winning the whole thing, you take it seriously and try and get it done. Booker himself thinks the same way.
The Suns have received more bad news on the injury front however, with Eric Gordon also listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Gordon is dealing with a right knee contusion, which doesn't sound like a long-term issue. He is also 34-years-old, and has been extremely dependable for the franchise so far this season. Which sounds great, but the Suns should be trying not to lean too much on Gordon at this stage, knowing full well he is exactly the kind of player they'll need come the postseason.
Outside of their "Big 3", center Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen, no other Suns player is more likely to see the court when the games begin to really matter. So to have him miss out now is not ideal, because it may be the beginning of his body breaking down and Gordon no longer being reliable when the Suns need him to be later in the season.
That is a very negative outlook, and the more likely scenario here is that Gordon has been playing in a lot of games and was never going to play in them all. A contusion is nowhere near as bad an injury as he could have gotten, and questionable doesn't even mean he is completely ruled out either. If anything, missing a game against the awful Grizzlies with this issue is good timing.
It also speaks to the larger problem of injuries impacting the availability of Beal and also Booker. Gordon has appeared in 18 games so far - which is about what you'd expect - but he's started 14 of them. The was not the game plan here, with head coach Frank Vogel surely seeing Gordon as more of a sixth man or perfect player off the bench for this group.
Instead he's been called upon to be a defensive presence from the jump, and his 14.7 points on over 41 percent from deep have been crucial for the Suns. As opposed to an added bonus, which offensively Gordon was looked at as being coming off the bench when he was signed this summer. With no Beal and sometimes no Booker though, his older legs are having to work overtime.
Alongside Allen, Gordon has been the best role player the franchise has had so far this season. If he is to miss out, his absence is going to be felt right away. Booker will always be the bigger loss, but any game Eric Gordon misses is going to hurt his team's chances of winning. That's how they built this roster during the offseason, and now they have to live with the realities of creating a top-heavy rotation.