The Valley Oop was quickly followed up with some lovely news coming from Yahoo’s Chris Haynes this early afternoon. Barring an unforeseen setback, Chris Paul is expected to be back for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday in Los Angeles.
BREAKING: Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul intends to make his return for Game 3 of WCF against the Los Angeles Clippers barring unforeseen setback, league sources tell @YahooSports. https://t.co/UgzGxX4aaZ— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 23, 2021
“Paul underwent a cardio exam Wednesday morning and passed, which is the final step to clearing the league’s health and safety protocols, sources said.” The 36-year-old had been sidelined since he tested positive last Monday.
This news hardly comes as a surprise given the reporting from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski last night on the optimism for his return.
New story with @wojespn: There is optimism within the Suns organization that Chris Paul, out for the start of the Western Conference finals because of the league's health and safety protocols, could return for Thursday's Game 3 (correct link) https://t.co/GUy8v394vE— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 23, 2021
The rumblings of him being both vaccinated and asymptomatic always played in the Suns’ favor towards beating or at least being on the short end of that typical 10-14 day timetable during the regular season.
The Phoenix Suns jumped out to a 2-0 lead, taking care of home-court advantage after the incredible “Valley Oop” that took the world by storm last night. Now, with Chris Paul in the fold returning to his former building, the Suns will look to put the finishing touches on this series.
The Clippers have bounced back from consecutive 0-2 series deficits, but this is a whole new ballgame. There is still no update on Kawhi’s status and with Chris Paul set to return, they could be in some serious trouble. Even with the great news, do not expect the Clippers to lie down, as they’ve battled back from adversity all season long.
Phoenix had some struggles offensively in Game 2 and were able to win in spite of that, so Paul’s return for what has turned into a chippy series will be very much welcome.
His veteran leadership and poise combined with the momentum of this team should give them enough juice to close this series out.
Game 3: at Los Angeles Clippers — 6:00 PM MST on ESPN in the Staples Center.