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Chris Paul Injury: Updates on Clippers Star's Hamstring and Return

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (3) during an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul suffered a hamstring strain Dec. 22 and had not played since.

However, on Wednesday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers announced Paul will be available to play, per the New Orleans Pelicans' official Twitter account.

This was another setback for the point guard, who broke a bone in his right hand during Los Angeles' first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers last season. The injury kept him out for the rest of the series, which the Clippers lost in six games.

Losing Paul again is a difficult blow for the Clippers. The nine-time All-Star drives the Clippers offense with his ability to find open teammates, shoot from three-point range and attack the basket.

After scoring 19.5 points and dishing 10.0 assists per game in 2015-16, he has six seasons with double-digit assist averages in his career. Paul is also arguably Los Angeles' best perimeter defender and has been a member of eight NBA All-Defensive Teams.

The Clippers entered the 2016-17 season with hopes of challenging the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, but that would be unrealistic without a healthy Paul. Players such as DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick can carry the offense for stretches, but Paul is the team's best chance at advancing deep into the postseason.

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