Paul (left thumb) returns to Clippers' lineup vs. Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chris Paul returned to the Clippers lineup Tuesday night in Sacramento, confirming the initial diagnosis that the sprained left thumb was a minor injury and that the All-Star point guard missed a practice and a game strictly out of preseason precaution.

Paul hurt the thumb in practice Saturday. He was held out of the workout the next day and also sat Monday against the Jazz in Salt Lake City, with coach Doc Rivers saying all along the sprain would not threaten Paul’s availability for the Oct. 27 opener at Portland.

The plan from the start was for Paul to play one of the final two exhibition games, against the Jazz or Kings. That came true when he took the court as part of the opening lineup Tuesday at Golden 1 Center.