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Report: Suns Optimistic Chris Paul Will Clear COVID-19 Protocols 'Sooner Than Later'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2021

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Phoenix Suns are hopeful they'll have star guard Chris Paul back "sooner than later," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

However, Wojnarowski also reported Paul's availability for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals is "still murky."

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports later reported Paul could return "at some point early in the Western Conference Finals."

Suns head coach Monty Williams noted after Sunday's 120-114 victory in Game 1 on Sunday that Paul was "day-to-day."

Prior to starting the series, the Suns confirmed the 11-time All-Star had entered the NBA's health and safety protocols and will be out indefinitely.

 Williams opted for Cameron Payne as the starting point guard for Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers, who are without one of their best players as well.

A sprained right knee kept Kawhi Leonard on the bench, and head coach Tyronn Lue was unsure whether he'd be good to go in Game 2. That somewhat blunts the impact of Paul's absence for Phoenix.

The 36-year-old has been great in the playoffs so far. Through 10 appearances, he's averaging 15.7 points on 50.9 percent shooting overall and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. He's also dishing out 8.7 assists per game.

In his last outing, Paul had 37 points and seven assists as the Suns eliminated the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals.

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After Game 1, Phoenix and Los Angeles will be back on the court Tuesday. Given Wojnarowski's report, Game 3 on Thursday at Staples Center might be the earliest to expect Paul in the lineup again.

It doesn't appear, however, that he's at risk of missing the entire conference finals.

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