Top Stories

Chris Paul to play vs. Phoenix Suns, be on minutes limit

* Thursday on TNT: Rockets vs. Suns, 10:30 ET

The Houston Rockets will have Chris Paul back in the fold soon. Paul, who has missed the last 14 games with a bruised left knee, went through practice today and is expected to start vs. the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“I’ve still got a ways to go,” Paul said at Wednesday’s practice. “I’m excited about just getting out here [on the practice court] … I’m glad to be out here and not in the training room.”

Paul is expected to be on a minutes limit against Phoenix, something he says he’ll have to get used to.

“That’s tough. Anytime you want to play, you want to play. You don’t want to have to monitor or whatever, but we’ll see.”

Adding Paul back to the mix will result in some shifting roles across the board for the Rockets, coach Mike D’Antoni said. For now, though, Houston is just happy to have their No. 1 point guard back in the mix.

“He’s ready to go,” D’Antoni said. “I think he’s playing tomorrow. We’ll see. It’s good, it’s just now we have to … what we’ve done up to now doesn’t count,” D’ Antoni said. “We’ve got a new team tomorrow. When you put that big of a rock into a pond there’s big waves. We’ve got to figure out to, one, give him a chance to get in game-shape and playing well. Two, everybody’s rotation is a little bit different, so we have to endure the next two or three games and try to smooth it out as we go along.”

D’Antoni said there’s “no challenge” to monitoring Paul’s minutes and that Houston will use tomorrow’s game and several others ahead to assess Paul’s workload.

“Again, we’ll just try to find out how he’s feeling, how he’s reacting and go from there — whether it’s two minutes or 20 minutes,” D’Antoni said.

Paul, 32, has played in just one game, Houston’s season-opening victory over the Golden State Warriors, since bruising his left knee on Oct. 11 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Rockets have played well in the nine-time All-Star’s absence, winning 10 of 14 games after Tuesday’s home loss to the Toronto Raptors.

* * *