Clippers point guard Chris Paul underwent surgery Tuesday, Aug. 21 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. While the team announced Paul’s return may take up to eight weeks, his recovery is not expected to carry into the regular season.
“[The surgery] was something we wanted him to get done now so it doesn’t bother him later,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He’ll be back for the start of the season.”
The Clippers begin their 2012-13 campaign at Staples Center on Oct. 31 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a rematch of last year’s first round playoff series.
According to Del Negro, Paul played with the injury throughout part of last season and again in the Summer Games.
“Chris brought home the gold and had a terrific Olympics,” Del Negro added. “He re-aggravated an injury from last season early in the [Olympic] training process and played through it.”
With his thumb wrapped in tape, Paul started all eight games for Team USA, averaging 8.3 points, 5.1 assists, and a tournament-high 2.5 steals in more than 25 minutes per game in London. It was Paul’s second gold medal, and first as a member of the Clippers.
The Olympics capped somewhat of a banner year for the five-time All-Star.
After being dealt to the Clippers in December 2011, he helped lead his new team to the second round of the playoffs for the second time in franchise history and captured first team All-NBA honors. He was also elected first team All-Defense, led the NBA in steals, and was third in assists.
Prior to his second run with the U.S. National Team, Paul was credited by Clippers’ newcomers Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford, as well as newly re-signed guard Chauncey Billups, for his role in recruiting them to play in Los Angeles. With a rebuilt bench and healthy superstars in Paul and Blake Griffin, who also underwent offseason surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his left knee, the Clippers are expected to once again be among the premier teams in the Western Conference.