Chris Paul, who has missed the first two games of the Phoenix Suns’ Western Conference finals matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, is probable to make his way back to the court for Game 3, the team announced Wednesday.
Paul passed a cardio exam, which is required in order to be cleared to play again, per Haynes. The veteran guard was first placed into the protocols on June 16 after testing positive for COVID-19. However, he’s been asymptomatic since his isolation, and his vaccination status made the typical quarantine timeline of 10-14 days shorter for Paul. Following the Suns’ sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the second round, Paul reportedly flew to Los Angeles to surprise his wife and kids, and upon landing in L.A., he found out about his positive COVID-19 test. It’s still unknown how he contracted it, per Haynes.
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Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Paul should be ready to go for the Suns on Thursday, and head coach Monty Williams already said he will not hesitate to throw his point guard directly into the fire.
“I’m sure if I tried to keep Chris out of the game, we’d have to square off and go toe-to-toe,” Williams said before Game 2. “So we’ll just make that assessment when the time comes.”
The Suns won the first two games of the series without Paul, with Cameron Payne filling in as a starter. However, both were nail-biting affairs, with Game 2 being won on a last second alley-oop, out-of-bounds pass from Jae Crowder to DeAndre Ayton to seal the win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Getting Paul back will give Phoenix a boost in a major way on offense, as he acts as the sole conductor of what this team does. He’ll take some pressure off Devin Booker, and give teammates like Mikal Bridges, Crowder and Ayton great looks in the right spots.
As the series shifts to Los Angeles, Paul will hope to lead the Suns past his former team with a chance at the NBA Finals on the line.
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