Chris Paul is back and ready for some preseason action.
According to Eric Patten of NBA.com, the Los Angeles Clippers superstar PG has been cleared to participate in all team practices and events. This will be the first time CP3 is on the floor for contact drills since getting surgery on his right thumb back in August.
Coach Vinny Del Negro was certainly happy to see his best player back on the court, and talked to Patten about how the floor general changes the dynamic of the team when he is running the offense.
“Chris practiced today pretty much the whole practice that obviously changes things when he’s out there,” Del Negro said. "He played well. He’s just got to get in better game condition. He’s been out for a while, but there’s no question he’s a factor when he’s out there no matter what kind of shape he’s in.”
The Clips open the season against the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 31, and it would serve CP3 well to get in game shape by the time that contest tips off.
One way for Paul to do that is via preseason games, which will allow him to get limited minutes in game situations—but not so intense that re-injuring his thumb would be a likely outcome.
Right now, the team is over in China for two preseason matchups, both against the Miami Heat. The first will take place on Oct. 11 and the second is scheduled for Oct. 14. Paul isn’t expected to play in the initial contest, although there is a chance he suits up for the latter game.
After that, the team will fly back to the States for five more exhibition games and then the regular season will begin.
The three weeks leading up to that tip will give CP3 plenty of time to get fit and test out his newly-repaired thumb. Expect the same elite production out of the star point guard and yet another amazing campaign in 2012-13.