After Chris Paul injury, Clippers face tough stretch

The Clippers were hit hard by injury news again Tuesday with the announcement that Chris Paul will need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, a procedure expected to sideline him six to eight weeks.

That would be setback enough under any circumstances. But the Clippers are losing Paul while they are also without Blake Griffin, sidelined the last 15 games by a knee injury, a bad flashback to losing CP3 and Griffin in the first round of the playoffs against the Trail Blazers, a series L.A. lost.

Just as Griffin appeared to be closing in on a return to the court, although the Clippers had not publicly set a target date for his comeback, Paul exits while averaging 17.5 points, 9.7 assists (fourth in the league), 5.3 rebounds and 2.25 steals (first in the league). He is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday.

Austin Rivers or Raymond Felton will take Paul’s place as the starting point guard. Both have been in the opening lineup when CP3 missed games this season.

The injury also has implications for the All-Star game, with Paul likely destined to be selected for the 10th time, and what would have been an especially meaningful appearance for him given the close relationship with the city of New Orleans after beginning his career there. Instead, this opens a spot for Feb. 19 for someone else.