LOS ANGELES — At about the same time Chris Paul was preparing to talk to the media for the first time about his shoulder injury and rehabilitation, the Clippers were making a move to fill his spot on the roster.
It was no coincidence. The Clippers, in need of a point guard after Paul sustained a separated right shoulder Friday night in Dallas, signed former Laker Darius Morris to a 10-day contract.
Morris, 23, was in uniform Monday night when the Clippers faced the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. He was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 20 after playing in 12 games and averaging 6.9 points.
Paul, who is expected to be out six weeks, said it took him a couple of days to get over the disappointment of being hurt and turning his focus toward his rehabilitation. The soonest he could probably return is after the All-Star break Feb. 16.
"It’s one of those situations where it could’ve been worse," he said. "I woke up (Sunday) and was done feeling sorry for myself. I’ve got to approach the rehab and get back as soon as I possibly can."
Perhaps to soften the blow of missing so much time, Rivers said he told Paul that with so much time off, he should consider the fact that he’ll be fresh for the final two months of the regular season.
"He’s taking it OK," Rivers said. "The one thing I told him is, ‘We can’t get this injury back. It’s happened. Let’s try to look at this as a blessing that you’re going to have fresh, great legs for the stretch run. That’s the only way you can look at it.’ "
But Paul, who did not wear his arm in a sling and held his arm close to his body, didn’t want to hear that.
"I ain’t even trying to hear all that," he said. "I want to play and I need to play."
Then, knowing that he avoided surgery, he added, "I’m blessed. It could’ve been worse. I’m glad that it isn’t what it could’ve been. But now it’s all about attacking the rehab."
Paul also said he believed the team would thrive in his absence. It still has forward Blake Griffin, who is averaging 22 points a game, and center DeAndre Jordan, who is second in the NBA in rebounding at 13.4 a game. Two injured players, J.J. Redick and rookie Reggie Bullock, are approaching recovery.
I woke up (Sunday) and was done feeling sorry for myself. I’ve got to approach the rehab and get back as soon as I possibly can.
"Blake has shown, with or without me, he’s a dominant force in this league," Paul said. "I’m not worried about us. That’s the thing about our team — since training camp, we’ve done everything in case somebody goes down."
It’s uncertain whether Morris, who played at Windward School in Mar Vista and Michigan, will be a good fit. He was a second-round pick of the Lakers in 2011 and is in his third season in the league.
In 79 career games, the 6-foot-4 Morris is averaging 4.1 points and 1.6 assists, primarily as a bench player.
The 10-day contract will give Rivers a chance to evaluate Morris before deciding if the Clippers should sign him to another 10-day deal or for the rest of the season.