2021 Playoffs: West Final | Suns vs. Clippers

Suns' Chris Paul listed as available for Game 3

The veteran point guard had missed the first two games of the West finals while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

How will Chris Paul's intended return to the Suns' lineup help Phoenix in Game 3?

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul is expected to rejoin his team for Thursday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the LA Clippers. He is listed as available on the NBA’s official injury report.

Phoenix initially declared Paul out indefinitely after he entered the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols last Wednesday, and he sat out of the team’s wins over the LA Clippers in Games 1 and 2 but joined teammates in the postgame locker room after each victory via FaceTime.

Paul reportedly passed cardiac testing on Wednesday, as the last step to gaining clearance from the NBA via its Health and Safety Protocols.

Paul, 36, averaged 25.5 points and 10.3 rebounds during Phoenix’s 4-0 sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. He is reportedly vaccinated against COVID-19, which likely played a role in speeding his return to the court.

Paul was reportedly quarantining in Los Angeles, and not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms

To return to action per the league’s protocols, Paul needed to register at least two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart, in addition to undergoing a cardiac exam.

With Paul quarantining away from the team for Games 1 and 2, Phoenix leaned on strong performances at point guard from Cameron Payne, who poured in a career-high 29 points in Tuesday’s Game 2 victory, which was sealed by Deandre Ayton’s dunk at the buzzer off a lob pass from Jae Crowder.

In Game 1, Payne stepped up with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting and nine assists in 29 minutes, as each of the Suns’ starters finished the game in double-figures in scoring, led by Devin Booker, who racked up 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double.

The Clippers are still without Kawhi Leonard, who has been ruled out for Game 3 with a strained right knee.

The Suns and Clippers tip off Game 3 on Thursday at Staples Center (9 ET, ESPN).