The Los Angeles Clippers have been surviving over the past few weeks without their star point guard Chris Paul on the floor. Paul hasn’t seen the floor since Jan. 3 after suffering a separated shoulder, but the Clippers have been able to post a solid 9-3 record over the 12 games that he’s missed and have stayed competitive in the NBA’s Western Conference.
However, for this team to reach their full potential and possibly make a run in the postseason, they obviously are going to need Paul on the floor. Though he’s still a fair amount away from returning according to word coming out of Los Angeles, there are positive signs starting to crop up.
Prior to a rout of the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night, Paul was on the floor running the floor, taking shots, and getting a sweat going, per a report from the L.A. Times. Paul is just a little over three weeks removed from the initial injury and, given the original six-week timetable for his return to action, he still has a little ways to go before returning.
Also in the report from the Times, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke on the Paul injury and potential return, saying that there isn’t and has never been a “deadline or anything” regarding his point guard’s return. Rivers also added that Paul feels great despite needing more time to heal and said that he believes that Paul will likely stay on schedule and return around the All-Star break.
Before his injury, Paul was producing at a remarkable level. In 34 games, the veteran averaged 19.6 points, 11.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 34.6 minutes per game while shooting a solid 46.4 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from three. While the Clippers have stayed successful with their starting point guard out, their defense has noticeably slipped without their floor-general out there. It’s obviously a positive to see Paul doing basketball-related things, but the Clippers still need to maintain while their point guard fully recovers.