Friday night, the Los Angeles Clippers took on the Dallas Mavericks on the road in a high-scoring affair. Los Angeles wound up on the winning end by the score of 119-112, but the victory came by way of a huge loss for the Clippers.
Point guard Chris Paul suffered a shoulder injury about midway through the third quarter when driving to the basket as he was fouled by Monta Ellis. Paul went to the ground hard and immediately showed he was in some serious pain, grasping his right shoulder. Paul was attended to by trainers during a timeout and it was announced shortly after that he would not return.
After the game, head coach Doc Rivers said that his All Star point guard has a separated shoulder and will miss up to five weeks, with a minimum of three. To give you an idea of how much time that is, the Clippers will be without their leader for a minimum of 10 games and a maximum of 18.
Without Paul, one of the league’s clear MVP candidates thus far, the Clippers could drop severely from their current position in the Western Conference. At 23-12, Los Angeles holds the number four seed at the moment. But, following close behind are another four teams that are within two in the loss column: The Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns as well as Dallas.
As the Clippers look to survive without Paul, it’s not going to be easy. Darren Collison doesn’t possess nearly the intangibles and vision that Paul has had throughout his career. Even if the Clippers somehow go .500 in Paul’s absence, they could wind up falling down to the 8th seed in the West incredibly fast. Like stated previously, there are four teams within just two losses of the Clippers, and the West has been extremely competitive this season.