Chris Paul was hobbling around on his injured knee a certainly not a welcome sight for the already injury-depleted Clippers a but he still was doing his thing on Monday. Paul couldn’t be as aggressive as usual but had 15 assists as he helped lead the Clippers to a 89-76 win over Minnesota to keep pace at fifth place in the standings in the ridiculously tough Western Conference.
Paul had just two points on 1-for-6 shooting, but the fact that he still was able to run the offense was the biggest key. He still played 30 minutes.
Paul’s knee contusion a sustained during the Clippers loss at Golden State one day earlier a wasn’t enough to keep him out of the game, but it almost did.
"There was a chance I wasn’t going to play," Paul said. "I came to the game not expecting to. I got treatment all day and (Sunday) night even, after our game. Our trainers just found a way to get me through it."
When he wasn’t playing in the game, Paul was in the Staples Center tunnel on a stationary bike to keep warm.
His effort to play Monday impressed his teammates. They’re already without Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin, and there’s no timetable for a return for either player. Crawford won’t travel on the Clippers’ upcoming two-game roadtrip a starting with Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Doc Rivers said Griffin "maybe" would go on the trip.
The Clippers will need someone to guard Russell Westbrook, a strong candidate for MVP honors, and that’s a tough enough task when teams are healthy.
Chris Paul chats trying to be smart about playing through injury. "I don't know if I can play. I did toda https://t.co/117VpLDs6F
Paul lives for those kind of star-studded matchups, but that would be a tall order if he’s hobbling around.
"He played on one leg and had like 15 assists," said J.J. Redick, who scored a game-high 26 points. "They didn’t really figure it out until the third quarter that he was hobbled. He’s incredibly competitive. I don’t even think that he expected to play today during the day, but he just gutted it out. I’m not surprised that he played because he’s tough and competitive. I’m just really happy that he did."
Asked how limited he was, Paul said: "I don’t know. We won … I’m all right. Any time you win, it makes everything feel better."
Chris Paul has said he wants to play every regular season game this season, something he’s never done in his 10-year NBA career. He knows being healthy is the priority for the Clippers as they are on the homestretch before the postseason.
"I think I just have to be smart about it," Paul said. "The one thing that I don’t want to do is hurt the team. If I feel I can get out there and contribute (then I will). We need all of the bodies out there that we can get."