Chris Paul Out For Game With Sprained Left Thumb

Chris Paul Leaves Thunder Game With Sprained Left Thumb

LOS ANGELES – Clippers guard Chris Paul left Monday’s game against the Thunder with a sprained left thumb and didn’t return.

Initial X-rays during the game were negative, but Paul is expected to get an MRI on Tuesday to determine any further damage after jamming his left hand on Russell Westbrook’s right leg in the second quarter.

Paul went around a Joffrey Lauvergne screen while chasing Westbrook, who jumped into Paul while attempting to draw a foul on a 3-point attempt. Immediately after the play, a frutstrated Paul walked straight to the locker room with head athletic trainer Jasen Powell.

Head coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t see the injury as it happened, and he’ll have to wait to see what the MRI shows, but he knew the kind of injury Paul sustained from playing the position and seeing Paul favor his left hand after the play.

“That’s the one injury we get,” Rivers said. “You know the pain. I’m sure CP was thinking the worst at the time. He’s already got pretty good news with the normal X-ray being negative. You’ve just got to hope for the best.”

“That’s the one injury we get,” Rivers said. “You know the pain. I’m sure CP was thinking the worst at the time. He’s already got pretty good news with the normal X-ray being negative. You’ve just got to hope for the best.”

Paul was averaging 17.8 points, 12.3 assists and six rebounds per game in January and had eight points, six assists and three rebounds in 13 minutes before the injury. Monday’s game against Oklahoma City was Paul’s fifth game back from a strained left hamstring, which forced him out for seven games.

That hamstring injury meant additional minutes at the end of December for Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton, and it will be more of the same if Paul has to miss any time. Felton, who finished a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor Monday, said it was a scary moment to see Paul go out, but he added no one knows the severity of the injury yet.

The sprained left thumb Paul suffered was to the opposite hand he fractured last postseason in Portland, though Paul’s frustration looked similar as he solemnly walked off the court and into the tunnel.

J.J. Redick said the real worry set in when Paul didn’t return for the second half.

“I’ve seen Chris go off before and he tries to play,” said Redick, who scored 20 points and hit five 3-pointers in Monday’s win. “I’m not assuming the worst by any means, but I recognize there’s probably a good chance he’s out a game or two, best case.

“Worst case… we’ll deal with that. In the immediate future, hopefully it’s not serious. If it is, Blake (Griffin)’s going to be back soon. Next guy up, I guess. We’ve kind of dealt with this quite a bit lately, and we’ll continue to plug away.”

“Worst case… we’ll deal with that. In the immediate future, hopefully it’s not serious. If it is, Blake (Griffin)’s going to be back soon. Next guy up, I guess. We’ve kind of dealt with this quite a bit lately, and we’ll continue to plug away.”

Griffin’s picked up his rehab and is about to reach the four-week mark of a four-to-six-week recovery period following a right knee procedure. He’s running and back on the court going through basketball drills without a brace, and appears close to his return.

“I don’t think the timeframe has changed,” Doc Rivers said before Monday’s game. “I know he feels wonderful. He looks like he’s explosive again.”

Felton and Austin Rivers both said Griffin looks good as he rehabs, but Austin added he wants Griffin to be patient so he’s as healthy as possible when it matters most. In the meantime, the Clippers have managed to win seven straight games to start 2017, despite playing shorthanded.

If Paul has to miss any extended time, the Clippers could be without two superstars once again for the immediate future.

“It’s tough,” Austin Rivers said. “We just have to keep attacking and keep moving forward. I know we can keep this win streak going.”