So… Chris Paul is hurt… again


Just when it looks like Chris Paul is regaining form, after a rough start to the season, he’s hit with another setback.

First, the finger injury in China. Then, the hamstring injury suffered against the Golden State Warriors, which forced the ultra-competitive point guard to sit out the final possession of a close game, and after, three of the team’s next five games. Now, a rib injury, suffered after a mild collision with Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard; the injury would force Paul out of the game in the third quarter, only to never return.

Per Dan Woike’s post-gamewrite-up it seems the extent of Paul’s injury is mild, but could keep him out on the basis of the team doctors not rushing Paul back into action. As of now, Paul is listed as questionable for the team’s next game, against the scorching Paul George (27.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 26.1 PER) and the Indiana Pacers.

Prior to injury, Paul was on his best shooting stretch of the 15-16 season. Up to the point of the team’s 13th game of the regular season, a loss to the Toronto Raptors where Paul finished with 13 points on 38% shooting, CP3 was shooting 43% from the field, a mark that’d stand tied for the worst of his career. But since then, and before the Portland game, Paul strung off four consecutive games of shooting at least 45% from the field, which includes a 24 point, 66% performance against the Utah Jazz. Above even his best career shooting numbers, the 57% shooting over the stretch showed at least one thing: Paul was healthy and finding his rhythm, a very important factor as the Clippers looked to right the ship after starting the season 9-8.

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  • Statistically speaking, Paul is having his worst season since 2010-11, when Paul was last with the New Orleans Pelicans, or Hornets, whatever you choose to refer to the franchise as. In 80 games, Paul averaged 15.9 points on 46% shooting, shot 38% from three, a 57 TS%, 23.7 PER, and 122 Offensive Rating. This season? 17 points, 46% shooting, 34% from three, a 57% TS%, 23.5 PER, and 116 PER.

    Now, he’s back on the pine, and though the injury could be brief, it could require Paul to find his flow again. On a larger scale, it’s imperative Paul can escape the injury bug because if the Clippers hope to win a NBA championship, it’ll take Paul being near perfect. A better bench would allow for a drop-off to not be as crucial to the team’s success but so far, the “improved bench” isn’t making a good enough impression to believe the Clippers could against the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, or Golden State Warriors with 80% of the team’s second best player.

    Ironically, the constant injury ails come just a season after Paul played all 82 regular season games for the first time in his career — prior to the 2014-15 season, Paul’s previous career high for games played in a season was 80 games played, way back during Paul’s third season in the NBA and in 2010-11; as a Clipper, Paul’s previous games played high was 70, coming during the 2012-13 season.

    As before, if Paul sits out of the Pacers game, it’ll be Austin Rivers who gets the starting replacement nod — Austin is averaging 11.3 points and 1.3 assists in three games as a starter.

    Just a note, but last season was the first time Paul ever appeared in all 82 games of a season in his career.