Paul fully participates in team practice

Friday, March 11, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

Another step in Chris Paul’s potential return to the court took place Friday morning, when he fully participated in the Hornets’ team practice at the Alario Center. Hornets first-year head coach Monty Williams said Paul now will undergo another test to determine whether he’ll be cleared to play on Saturday vs. the Sacramento Kings. Williams said he expects to learn Paul’s playing status by Friday evening or Saturday morning, prior to the team’s shootaround at the New Orleans Arena.

The Hornets scrimmaged during Friday’s practice, but Paul was OK to participate despite the obvious potential for contact. The four-time All-Star point guard competed with and against teammates without incident, saying that he wasn’t concerned about the possibility of bumping into anyone on the floor.

“It’s scary, but at the same time I feel blessed that it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been,” Paul said of the aftermath of Sunday’s collision with Cleveland’s Ramon Sessions. “I’m grateful to all of the people who wished me well, all the prayers and all the thoughts. I think the toughest part was knowing that my family was worried. After that, the toughest part was finding out I couldn’t play.”

Paul added that when medical personnel decided to bring a stretcher out for him in Cleveland, he was “trying to tell them I didn’t need it, but they weren’t trying to hear that. I’m glad I’m past that. I hope to never have to relive that again… I’ve never had an injury like that. I’d never been in an ambulance, or anything like that. I played football (in high school), and I feel like I’ve been hit way harder than (what happened) the other night. It was just a freak accident.”

More from Friday’s practice:
- Monty Williams' assessment of how Paul looked in practice: "Pretty good. He was Chris. What I saw today was good... there were no hiccups, at all."

- Williams, on how doctors are entirely in control of the decision on whether Paul will be cleared to play, meaning Williams has zero input on when Paul returns to action: "As much as you want a guy back, nobody here is going to put a player in harm's way."

- Asked about the return of Marcus Thornton to New Orleans for Saturday’s game vs. Sacramento, Paul smiled and said, “It’s going to be exciting. I’m sure Marcus is going to try to go for 50 (points). That’s my guy. I know Marcus really well. He’s like a little brother to me. I’m interested to see how the crowd reacts to him coming back here.”