Devin Booker was back on the court way earlier than expected for the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The NBA is apparently unhappy with how he got there.
The league fined the Suns $25,000 for violating league injury reporting rules, specifically failing to disclose Booker's participation status in a timely and accurate manner ahead of Game 6 against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The following was released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/LyCYd1yLV8
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 30, 2022
Booker had been out since Game 2 and was initially believed to be out for two to three weeks, but ultimately ended up sitting about nine days.
He was initially ruled out for Game 6 the day of the game Thursday before being upgraded to questionable hours later, then announced to be playing. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the day before it was possible Booker could return in time for Game 6, then reported he was expected to play before he was upgraded to questionable.
Maybe the NBA found that to be a sketchy order of operations.
While the Suns were undoubtably happy to see Booker back, his return was fairly quiet by his standards. In 32 minutes, the All-Star posted 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting with five rebounds and three assists. Chris Paul was the far bigger factor, scoring 33 points on a perfect 14-of-14 shooting with eight assists to lead a 115-109 series-clinching win.
The Suns are now scheduled to face the Dallas Mavericks in the second round, where they are heavy favorites to advance at -350 at BetMGM.