‘If a guy is healthy and wants to play, he plays’

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones said guard Devin Booker’s status for Game 6 in New Orleans against the Pelicans on Thursday is still up in the air.

Jones joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo and said that as of Wednesday, the superstar remains out with the right hamstring injury, but that does not mean he is unavailable for Thursday.

“Every day, every hour he feels better,” Jones said. “But for right now, we’re going into tomorrow’s game expecting the guys that have been in the rotation and in uniform to take the court and play a very competitive game.”

“As of today, he is out. Tomorrow, I could probably have a better gauge when we get closer to game time if he is ready, but given where we are today he is out.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Booker is targeting a Game 6 or 7 return, but will be initially listed as out for Thursday.

Wojnarowski added that when Booker does return, he will play limited minutes.

Jones was asked whether the decision to play an injured player is an organization’s decision or if the player gets to voice an opinion as well.

“Every situation is different, we will get to tomorrow and see how he feels,” Jones said. “He will tell us how he feels, and if he can go and there is something that won’t keep him (from getting injured), we will talk about it.

“But ultimately, if a guy is healthy and wants to play, he plays.”

The reported timeline for Booker was expected to be 2-3 weeks, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst two days after the guard went down with the strain. Thursday’s Game 6 would mark nine days from the injury.

Booker scored 56 points on 52.6% shooting (57.9% from long range) in 65 minutes to start the series before the injury.

Phoenix leads the series 3-2 after Game 5’s 112-97 victory at Footprint Center. The Suns split the two previous games in New Orleans, winning Game 3 and losing Game 4.

Catch all of the Game 6 action from New Orleans at 4:30 pm on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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