Suns’ Devin Booker enters NBA’s health and safety protocols as first-place Phoenix now without top two stars

Phoenix is also without Chris Paul, who has a broken thumb

Feb 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) looks on against the Utah Jazz during the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker has reportedly entered the NBA‘s health and safety protocols, the team said Wednesday. Booker is expected to miss their game Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

This is a tough blow for the top-seeded Suns in the West as they are currently without All-Star guard Chris Paul for the foreseeable future — possibly until the playoffs — as he recovers from a thumb fracture. In Paul’s absence, the Suns have gone 1-2, as Booker has had to shoulder most of the offensive responsibility. Being without Booker for the time being will only make things even more difficult for Phoenix as it tries to hold onto that No. 1 spot in the West.  The Suns have a 6.5 game lead over the Golden State Warriors, who are currently in second place, and while the Warriors have been struggling since returning from the All-Star break, the team that Phoenix may need to worry more about is the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are just a half game behind the Warriors in third place, and with the recent scoring streak Ja Morant has been on that has included a recent career-high of 52 points, Memphis doesn’t look to be slowing down.  Standings aside, though, the Suns will now have to figure out how to tread water without both Booker and Paul. That means more opportunity for Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges to step up on offense, and guard Cam Payne will be forced to test his limits after recently returning from a wrist injury. Phoenix is one of the deepest teams in the league, and has been the most consistent squad this entire season. But these new bumps in the road will test the Suns in their ability to adapt while still maintaining that same level of dominance they’ve displayed all season long.