Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1), shown Feb. 3, 2022, missed the past three games of the Western Conference first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans because of a strained right hamstring. File Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE
April 28 (UPI) -- Phoenix Suns star guard Devin Booker will return for Game 6 against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night, the team announced.
Booker missed the past three games of the Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Pelicans because of a strained right hamstring.
The 25-year-old Booker was officially upgraded to questionable shortly before the game and tested his injured hamstring in pre-game warmups before getting cleared to compete.
Suns head coach Monty Williams told reporters that Booker progressed well in recent days.
"It's hard this time of the year to mimic an NBA game," Williams said of what led to Booker's quick return. "He's been on the floor with [Suns assistant coach] Jarrett Jack a few times. And doing the best he can to get to that point."
Williams also confirmed that Booker's minutes will be monitored, adding that the guard's return gives the Suns "roster balance."
"It helps to kind of settle the order of the team a little bit, relatively speaking," Williams said. "He won't play his normal 36, 38, 40 workload, but it still gives you a bit more balance."
Booker had 25 points in the Suns' Game 1 win against the Pelicans. He then scored 31 points in the first half of Game 2 before suffering the injury in the third quarter. He never returned to the game and has remained out since.
Phoenix holds a 3-2 lead over the Pelicans in the best-of-seven series.