PAUL EXPECTS TO PLAY WITH SPRAINED THUMB
OKLAHOMA CITY – “No question.”
Chris Paul was definitive and to the point when asked if he was planning to play in Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Western Conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder.
Paul is nursing a sprained right thumb that he suffered when he reached in to poke the ball away from Marc Gasol with 13 seconds remaining in Friday’s 102-96 loss to the Grizzlies.
“I told them I’m going to have to stop trying to steal the ball or something like that,” said Paul, who had 18 points and 14 assists in the game. “It is what it is. I’ve just got to get through it.”
The Clippers stayed in Memphis Friday night and flew to Oklahoma City Saturday morning. The team bussed from the airport to practice at Chesapeake Energy Arena
“We went here straight from the plane,” Paul said. “I’ll probably be with [Clippers trainer Jasen Powell] the rest of the day.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he expects Paul, who returned from a separated right shoulder that cost him 18 games on Feb. 9, to practice.
“I think he’s fine,” Rivers said. “He hurt his thumb a little bit, but I don’t think it’s anything where he’s going to miss a game.”
Paul has not yet had an X-ray on his thumb, nor does he expect to before taking on the Thunder.
It is not the first time he dealt with a thumb injury on his shooting hand. He played a large portion of the 2011-12 season with an injured right thumb and wore tape around it in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He had surgery to repair a torn ligament following the Olympics, but missed just two preseason games for the Clippers.
Paul did not draw any comparisons between the two injuries, simply saying, “It should be alright.”