Chris Paul targeting Sunday return from separated right shoulder
The Clippers point guard has been out since Jan. 3 with a separated right shoulder but said he plans on playing on Sunday when L.A. plays host to the 76ers.
Head coach Doc Rivers isn’t so sure.
“I fully know that he wants to play, let’s put it that way,” Rivers told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi on Saturday. “I just don’t know if we’re going to allow him to play yet. I just want to see how he feels, how his body feels. I want to see him on the floor. I just want to make sure Chris is not pushing to play. Players do that.”
Paul practiced on Saturday — the Clippers’ first practice in more than two weeks — and has been shooting and participating in contact drills this past week, Markazi reports.
The Clippers (35-18) are 12-6 in Paul’s absence and lead the Pacific Division by 3.5 games over the Warriors.
“I think it’s going to take Chris some time to get his rhythm back,” Rivers said. “That’s why I am hoping he is healthy and we can play him Sunday, have a practice on Tuesday and play him Wednesday. I think that helps. I think it’s going to take a couple weeks for him to get his rhythm back, no doubt.”
Paul has also previously said he’d like to play in next week’s All-Star Game.
“I like him playing in the All-Star Game, personally,” Rivers said. “I think this is a rare case where he’s ready to play and the All-Star Game is probably the safest venue for him to play. I think it will just be a good thing for him to get up and down, whether he plays these next two games or just one of the games. It allows him to go up and down in NBA game with really good players that don’t play defense in the game, so I think that would be very good.”