Chris Paul Injury: Clippers Need Star to Return Healthy to Fix Recent Struggles

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIFebruary 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:  Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on during a break in NBA game action against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on December 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers defeated the Nuggets 112-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Chris Paul appears ready to return from his knee injury and it comes not a moment too soon, as the Clippers need the star to return healthy to fix their recent struggles.

He's missed nine games with a bruised right knee and the team has gone 3-6 without him. It's no surprise that the Clippers have gone downhill without Paul. 

If the Clippers want to contend and continue their fine season, they need Paul to come back and play like he has been all year.

So far this season, Paul is averaging 16.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He is the leader of the team and orchestrates their high-powered offense like a conductor.

Without Paul, the Clippers are simply a mediocre team. They have no one who matches Paul's ability to understand pace. He's a master at knowing when to push it and when to hold it, when to pass and when to drive. He understands the inner workings of the game intimately that he's simply irreplaceable.

While Eric Bledsoe has filled in admirably during the injury, he does not match Paul's ability to control the game. 

Paul is one-of-a-kind and there is no one quite like him in the game. He's a maestro.

The Clippers have a ton of talent, especially in the frontcourt. But frontcourt players are pretty useless if there's no one to get them the ball.

Bledsoe is not nearly as good at passing the ball as Paul is. Jamal Crawford is not a pass-first guard. Chauncey Billups has lost a few steps.

Without Paul, the Clippers cannot make a deep playoff run. With Paul, however, the Clippers are a legitimate title threat.

So yes, it's pretty obvious that the Clippers not only need Paul back, but need him to come back fully healthy and ready to go. 

If Paul is only 70 percent, it does no one any good. Paul needs to be fully healthy and at the top of his game for the Clippers to take on the Thunder and Heat.

The Clippers have all the pieces. They have great defense, a high-flying offense and veteran leadership.

Without Paul, though, it all falls apart. A healthy Paul is the only chance the Clips have at winning a title.

Quite simply, they need Paul back to fix their recent struggles. 

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