Paul unsure about USA Basketball participation

Tuesday, April 13, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

With the torn ligament in his right middle finger expected to heal by June, Chris Paul is uncertain about whether he will play for USA Basketball later this summer. Coming off an Olympic gold medal in 2008, the USA men's team is scheduled to compete in the World Basketball Championships from Aug. 28 through Sept. 12 in Turkey. Their training camp is expected to take place in July in Las Vegas.

“I hope I can (participate),” Paul said after this morning’s practice at the Alario Center. “I want to play with the USA team. All of this time I missed during the season, I feel like I’ve got a lot of games left in me. So I think the first thing will be to see how my knee and my finger are doing (later this summer).”

Paul appeared in a career-low 45 games in 2009-10, after sustaining three separate injuries that each caused him to miss multiple weeks of action: a severe ankle sprain (8 games missed), a torn meniscus in his knee (25 games) and the current finger ailment (4 games). His previous career-low in games played was 64. Over the previous two seasons, the three-time All-Star played in 175 of a possible 181 games (including playoffs).

“My biggest thing right now is to get as healthy as possible,” the 6-foot, 175-pound point guard said. “(In summer 2009) I felt like I did a great job of preparing my body to be ready for the season, but obviously it wasn’t good enough. I’m definitely going to rest right now, enjoy my (11-month-old) son and get back to it.

"It was very frustrating, because this is the first time in the past two or three years that I’ve been done in April. I almost don’t know what to do with my time. But you always have goals and different things like that. I think (the injuries are) going to drive me and motivate me to get better for next season.”