When you remove an MVP candidate from a young team's lineup, chances are it's going to have trouble making up for it.
This shouldn't be a surprise or a long-term concern. Unless this is the bruise from hell, Clipper fans should take a breath knowing their star isn't risking damage and is saving his legs for when he'll need them the most.
The Clippers have been pretty vague about Paul's injury and continue to insist he's day-to-day. Paul has had a bone bruise for weeks now that hasn't allowed him to practice with contact, a scary yet likely precautionary move to avoid any form of potential disaster.
We have to operate under the assumption that this team will be at full strength for the final stretch. If that's the case, then the only ones who should be panicking are the other teams in the West.
When this team is locked and loaded, it puts out a product of basketball that's unlike anything we've seen. Easily the most athletic team on the planet, the Clippers' ability to play higher above the rim than any of their competitors gives them an offensive advantage whenever they touch the floor.
Opposing teams can't simulate this in practice unless they rent trampolines from the circus.
This is a group Clipper fans should feel confident about.
It's those boys from Oklahoma City that they have to worry about. The Thunder went into L.A. and stole a win earlier this year and snuck away at home with an overtime victory.
There's no need for Clipper fans to panic unless we're told Chris Paul's injury is more severe than initially anticipated. That goes for Blake Griffin's recent hamstring injury too, although that only seems like a minor setback as well.
Comedian Neal Brennan said it best:
Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin playing, the Clippers are the Clippers.— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) February 5, 2013
With tremendous depth, a top-five player and unparalleled athleticism in the frontcourt, the Clippers are an offensive mismatch that nobody wants any part of. Now that Vinny Del Negro has this team playing two-way basketball, they have a legitimate shot to come out of the West.
As long as health is on their side, the Clippers are a team to fear.