When he showed up in street clothes for the next contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, we were sure that was all it was. After all, he was walking around, and even gave a leaping chest bump to replacement Darren Collison who went coast-to-coast with a steal and a jam to seal the game.
The news could only be slightly worse. Fortunately, it does not appear that Paul will be lost for the season. By the time he returns, however, the Hornets' season could be over.
All-Star point guard Paul may have to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a cartilage tear in his left knee and could miss up to two months.
When contacted by telephone on Sunday night by reporters from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Paul would not confirm or deny the possibility of surgery.
The Hornets were storming back into playoff contention. The victory against the Grizzlies moved them from 10th to eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
In that overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls, Paul collided into a cameraman, trying to save a poor inbounds pass by David West that eventually cost them the game. And Paul's season.
Paul is the Hornets' leading scorer with a 20.4 average and he leads the NBA in assists with an 11.2 per game average. Rookie Darren Collison looked very strong in place of Paul against the Grizzlies while dishing 18 assists and scoring 17 points.
Due to the recent roster moves to beat the luxury tax, the Hornets are now down to three guards who are available to play. Rookies Collison and recently appointed starter Marcus Thornton will start, with seldom-used Morris Peterson as backup.
The Hornets sent starting shooting guard Devin Brown to the Bulls last week for third-string center Aaron Gray. The next day New Orleans dealt third-string point guard Bobby Brown to the Clippers for a conditional 2014 draft choice.
Neither Thornton nor Peterson are point guards although Thornton did play that position for a few minutes in the Grizzlies game to give Collison a rest.
There are few times that I hate to be right. Ask my wife. However, this is one time that I wish that I was wrong. In my article about the Bobby Brown trade, I wrote:
There are currently four guards on the roster including starters Paul, Marcus Thornton, little-used Morris Peterson, and Collison. Should anything happen to Collison or Paul, New Orleans would be in trouble at the one position.
Just one week later, the Hornets are now in trouble.
To add to their troubles, they have to pick up another guard and have no cap room. Hopefully GM/head coach Jeff Bower can work some magic and unload some more salary while getting a guard that can swing between the one and two spot.
Or maybe it is going to be a very long two months.