Chris Paul jacked up his thumb against Oklahoma City and reportedly will undergo surgery today. The procedure is expected to keep him for 6-8 weeks.
If there’s a star player who’s had worst luck than this guy, he’s not coming to mind.
This is potentially a devastating blow to both Paul, who of course, has never even been to the Conference Finals, and to the Clippers who start today in the two hole in the West.
Devastating to Paul who was playing about as well as he ever has, and devastating to the team, since their window is on the verge of slamming shut and it’s now or never for this crew.
Paul, Griffin and J.J. Redick can all become free agents this summer. Whether or not Paul and Griffin can co-exist on the floor has been a question since they came together. But whether or not they can both stay healthy isn’t. Because they can’t. Whether or not to break up this nucleus has obviously been an ongoing topic.
But Doc Rivers preferred to roll with this crew and give it another shot. Probably it’s last shot. And now, at least in the short term, they have to go with Paul and Griffin. That’s a huge problem. And it’s going to still be a problem even when Griffin comes back. He alone can’t pick up the slack of losing Paul.
Especially since he’ll be coming back from an injury on his own. And when he does go to the bench with foul trouble or to get a breather, they’re going to struggle.
No, they’re not going to miss the playoffs. But without Paul, they’re not going to get the two seed they were gunning for. Or even the homecourt in the first round. If they play .500 basketball without Paul, and they have when he doesn’t play, they could conceivably crash all the way to the 7th spot, which means they’d probably have to deal with San Antonio, or Houston, on the road in the first round.
And if they’re looking at one and done when this season was at the very least, conference finals or bust, then you have to blow this thing up.
Even if they get out of the first round, they still may have to blow it up? I mean, if you’re Doc Rivers do you want to commit max deals to two guys, who can’t stay healthy, don’t necessarily fit together on the court and who are the wrong side of 30? So this is a bitter, bitter blow to both Paul and the team.
Good news is, barring any complications, he should be back with about a month left in the season.
Bad news is, if they don’t make that deep run in the postseason and it’s looking less likely than ever now, this crew which was assembled to win a championship, conceivably could go down not coming anywhere near sniffing one. Doc needs to coach em up, and Griffin needs to step up when he does come back, because these next four to six weeks may be the difference between bringing them back or dropping a bomb on the whole thing.