What the Clippers have done without Chris Paul has been impressive. On the season the Clippers are 10-3 without him and they just went 5-2 on their Grammy road trip, all with him sidelined. Blake Griffin has stepped up his game; in his last 10 games he is averaging 26.4 points a game with a true shooting percentage of 63.2 percent and he’s shot 47.1 percent from the midrange in his last five games.
Still, the Clippers can’t wait to get Chris Paul back.
Monday night, Paul got in a good, strong workout before the Clippers played the Milwaukee Bucks. Paul got in a good sweat, shooting jumpers and runners. He got in a good sweat running up and down the court after he shot. But Paul still is a ways away from playing because of a separated right shoulder. The original timetable had Paul out up to six weeks, meaning he would be out another three weeks, returning sometime in mid-February.
With the Clippers winning and holding their ground in the deep Western Conference, there is no reason to rush CP3’s return. That said, the sooner the better for the Clippers. That could be prior to the All-Star Game and if it is Paul would likely have a spot in the game (the coaches would vote him in as a reserve, no question). If Paul is voted in as a reserve but can’t go due to injury, ultimately the commissioner, Adam Silver, will pick his replacement on the roster. The All-Star Game is just the icing on the cake — the Clippers are trying to grow into contenders in the Western Conference. They didn’t look the part in the first half of the season; they were on a second tier in the West. But this stint of strong play without Paul could be a springboard when he returns.
Now that the Clippers are down to 14 players and have an open roster spot, coach Doc Rivers is not looking to add another player right away. Continued talks with his other front-office staff members will continue when the Clippers return home Tuesday before making a decision. The team chose not to sign point guard Darius Morris to a contract after his second 10-day deal expired Saturday night.
The team will have to play the waiting game as to when CP3 will make his return to the floor. Whenever that comes, he will be welcomed back with opened arms as the Clippers try to finish off another strong season and push for a high playoff seeding.