In his 22 minutes on the court on Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks, Chris Paul had once again been the driving force behind the Los Angeles Clippers. In that time, he had already accrued 19 points, six assists, three boards and one steal while filling it up from long-range, hitting five of his six attempts from three.
However, Paul’s night was cut short as he went down with an apparent shoulder injury in the third quarter and didn’t return. Initially it was thought that Paul had just sprained his shoulder and that this injury wouldn’t be anything to really worry about. Head coach Doc Rivers delivered some bad news after the game about his star point guard, though.
According to a report from Marc Stein at ESPN, Rivers said that Paul has a separated shoulder and will be out for three-to-five weeks “at the least.” The Clippers ultimately defeated Dallas by a score of 119-112 on Friday to move to 23-12 on the 2013-14 NBA season, but it obviously came at a huge cost.
Paul has been absolutely phenomenal this season and has continued to establish himself as the best traditional point guard in the game. In 33 games prior to Friday night, Paul was averaging 19.6 points, 11.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals in 35 minutes per game while shooting a solid 46.2 percent from the field and a steadily increasing 33 percent from three.
What’s been ridiculous about Paul’s performance this season has been how much offense he’s created for this team. Per NBA.com’s player tracking data, Paul leads the NBA in points created by assists per game, assisting on 25.5 total points per game. Moreover, Paul also leads the league in secondary assists (passes leading to an assist) at 2.2 per game.
Not only is Paul a versatile and cold-blooded scorer himself, but the opportunities he creates for his teammates are just unreal. While Darren Collison has been solid as backup in L.A. this season, but he has nowhere near the impact that Paul does on the Clippers. The Clips seemed to be hitting their stride, but it’s safe to expect some regression over the next month or so.