Suns practically beaming about Booker’s progress

Devin Booker is progressing well as he works his way back from having surgery on his right hand.

Things are looking, well, sunny, in Phoenix and it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

There are smiles aplenty in Phoenix, according to a report by Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic, who writes Suns franchise player Devin Booker is well on his way to recovering after having the splint on his injured hand removed.

“It feels great man,” Booker told Rankin after a shootaround Wednesday. “Not all the way back, 100-percent normal yet, but it’s getting ready.”

The standout shooting guard had surgery Sept. 10 to repair the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint. His right hand had swelled a week previous while playing hoops in Phoenix.

Booker started wearing the splint on the hand after the surgery and had been doing so through training camp.

While he has yet to be cleared for full contact, first-year Suns coach Igor Kokoskov was excited about Booker having the splint removed.

“It makes me happy,” Kokoskov told Rankin. “I’m happy for him. I’m happy for us. We’ve mentioned it several times if you ask Devin, he would play (Wednesday).”

Booker, who signed a $158 million extension this summer, is awaiting full clearance, but realizes that decision is not in his hands.

“I don’t make those decisions, but I’m following protocol,” Booker told Rankin. “(Trainers) know what they’re doing. That’s their profession. It’s been fun.”

The Suns open their season Oct. 17 against the Dallas Mavericks. It remains to be seen whether Booker can answer the bell for Game 1, however.

“We’re just following the steps,” Kokoskov said, according to Rankin. “That’s not my jurisdiction. I know nothing about when it comes to medical, science. The medical staff, we have one of the best in the league. They’re going to tell us when the next steps are.

“We’re going to follow those steps being disciplined and wait for him to make the recovery and to play.”

Booker’s right-hand injury lingered throughout the latter part of last season after he jammed it during a practice March 14. Despite the injury, Booker played the next night against the Utah Jazz and made just three of 18 field-goal attempts.

The 6-foot-6, 206-pound Booker sat out the final 12 games of the season and was required to wear a splint on the hand until its condition improved.

Booker, 21, had a banner season a year ago, averaging 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 34.5 minutes in 54 games, shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from deep and 84.9 percent from the free-throw line.