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Devin Booker to return opening night against Mavericks

Devin Booker

The Phoenix Suns open the 2018-19 regular-season against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 17, and the team will have its best player on the floor. Star shooting guard Devin Booker will play despite undergoing surgery to repair an injury to the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint in his right hand in early September.

Booker will likely wear a splint on his pinky/ring finger. The Suns initially said Booker would miss approximately six weeks.

Booker, 21, averaged 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game last season. He shot 43.2 percent from the field, 38.3 percent from beyond the arc and 87.8 percent from the free-throw line. The Suns signed Booker to a five-year, $158 million maximum contract extension in the offseason.

Along with Devin Booker, the Suns will likely start No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, veteran stretch forward Ryan Anderson, swingman T.J. Warren, and either Elie Okobo or De’Anthony Melton at the point guard spot versus the Mavericks. Phoenix only won 21 games in 2017-18 and finished with the worst record in the NBA. Under the guidance of new coach Igor Kokoškov, though, the Suns are expected to be a more competitive team this season.

Along with Ayton, the Suns also acquired Villanova small forward Mikal Bridges on draft night, and signed Trevor Ariza in free agency.