The Phoenix Suns have suffered a huge blow after revealing that Devin Booker will be out for up to six weeks with a hand injury.
The 21-year-old underwent surgery on Monday and is now set to miss all of training camp and the start of the regular season.
Preparing for the new campaign without their star player is not ideal for the Suns as they need to integrate several new players and get to know new head coach Igor Kokoskov.
Details of how Booker's injury occurred haven't been revealed but a significant amount of swelling on his hand led to the decision to have surgery.
Important season ahead
It's an untimely setback for the shooting guard ahead of what will be his biggest season with the team yet.
He signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension earlier in the summer and will have the responsibility of leading the Suns back to the playoffs.
The talented youngster has embraced his role as the face of the franchise and he's hoping to build on a career year last season.
Booker averaged 24.9 points, 4.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in just his third campaign.
He also shot a career-best 43.2 percent from the field and 38.3 from three-point range.
The Arizona-based outfit is keen to return to winning ways this year and be competitive in the Western Conference.
In a recent interview, Booker declared that it's "winning time" for Phoenix and was excited for what 2018-19 has in store.
“It’s winning time,” Booker told CBS Sports. “I’m looking forward to next year a lot, with the additions to the team, we’re in much better shape to have a much better season.
“We’re in the best shape we’ve been in since I’ve been a part of the franchise."
The Suns were certainly hoping that D-Book would spend training camp and the pre-season developing a strong chemistry with number one pick Deandre Ayton.
The pair are seen as the future cornerstones of the franchise but will now have to wait almost two months before they can take to the floor together.
But Booker's absence should motivate others to step up and take control, particularly last season's number four pick Josh Jackson.
They can also count on new veteran duo Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson with their experience and three-point shooting.
They'll certainly have to fill Booker's production by committee until he returns.
It's an unfortunate setback but it's time for the Suns to show that they've put a strong roster together and won't have to rely so heavily on their young star.
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