The Suns eventually won the game behind Point Book, running their record to 48-10 and giving them a 6.5 game lead over the next best team, but a potential injury to All-Star Chris Paul is disconcerting.
He hit his hand on a Houston defender while passing the ball into the post and immediately started holding the thumb.
Possibly as a distraction and to facilitate a quick exit to the locker room, Paul started berating an official due to what he felt was a no-call to the point where he received a pair of technical fouls and was ejected from the game.
Chris Paul just assaulted an official and was ejected. Pray for our Refs pic.twitter.com/wo5uEk7HIy— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 17, 2022
Later, the officials’ crew chief said Paul earned the first tech with use of profanity toward an official and the second tech from bumping into the official. All while holding his hand.
Chris Paul was just ejected for bumping into the ref pic.twitter.com/0rqTq9Udpu— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) February 17, 2022
Now, Paul will get magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the extent of damage to any ligaments.
Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul will undergo an MRI tomorrow morning on his right hand he injured tonight against Houston, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 17, 2022
Since X-rays can be taken directly on scene at the arena, we can infer that Paul suffered no broken bones from the impact. Still, a ligament may have been strained.
Back in the 2021 playoffs, Paul played the NBA Finals with a wrist injury that required offseason surgery.
The Suns now have almost a week off before the next regular season game. This weekend is the 2022 All-Star Game, and Paul is supposed to play after being named to the All-Star team for the 12th time.
After the game, head coach Monty Williams gave no update, but fellow All-Star Devin Booker said Paul looked fine.
“We seen him in the locker room, he’s fine,” Booker said, following up with “I don’t think so” on whether Paul would miss the All-Star game on Sunday.
If the MRI shows strained ligament, Paul will have to skip the All-Star game and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will name a replacement. Suns teammate Mikal Bridges has been mentioned as a possibility, but a handful of different players around the West could be named.
Paul has suffered torn thumb ligaments before, missing a month of games.