The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Chris Paul suffered a groin strain in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals with the Phoenix Suns up by eight points on the Denver Nuggets. The Point God had just caught fire, draining had 6 points and dishing 3 assists in the third quarter alone. He was the tip of the spear that was piercing the Nuggets’ defense.
It appeared that, upon attempting to box out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the 37 year-old Paul tweaked his groin.
He played the next possession, then immediately beelined for the locker room, walking gingerly and with a limp.
Paul did not return for the remainder of the game, and Phoenix dropped the game, 97-87.
And then we waited.
Today we learned the news that Chris Paul, based on the results of the MRI today, will miss at least the next three games of the series and is set to be evaluated in one week. “Evaluated”, which is NBA injury terminology that we’ve learned throughout CP3’s career and throughout this season for Phoenix does not mean will return to the lineup. It just means that’s the next time they test the healing process. He will miss at least games 3, 4 and 5 with this one-week timeline, and potentially more.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul is expected to be re-evaluated in one week after MRI on his groin injury today, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Suns are preparing to be without Paul through Games 3-5, sources said.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 2, 2023
In a release, the Phoenix Suns are officially calling him ‘day to day’.
Thus far in the 2023 playoffs Paul has been averaging 12.4 points, 7.4 assists, and 5 rebounds, doing so on 42/32/50 averages. It is the lowest scoring output of his playoff career.
While these are not vintage Chris Paul numbers and this is not a memorable Chris Paul year, it is his cerebral approach to the game and veteran presence that will be dramatically absent from the Suns’ starting lineup. His floor general approach and willingness to take the big shot will be missed.
Unfortunately for Paul, this is the latest injury in a long line of postseason setbacks for the future Hall of Fame point guard.
- 2015 — Western Conference Semifinals vs. Houston Rockets: Paul missed the final two games of the series due to a hamstring issue.
- 2016 — First Round vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Paul needed surgery after breaking his right hand. He missed the remainder of the postseason.
- 2018 — Western Conference Finals vs. Golden State Warriors: Another hammy injury caused Paul to miss the final two games of the series, which the Rockets lost in seven.
- 2021 — First Round vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Paul suffered a shoulder contusion that caused him to miss the first game of the series.
- 2021 — Western Conference Finals vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Paul contracted COVID, causing him to miss the first two games of the series.
- 2022 — Semi-Finals vs. Dallas Mavericks: With the Suns up 2-0, Paul turned 37. The team went 1-4, Paul averaged 9.4 points and 5.8 assists those last five games after having averaged 22.6 and 9.9 the eight playoff games immediately before that.
- 2023 — Western Conference Semifinals vs. Denver Nuggets: Chris Paul pulls his groin in Game 2, return TBD.
It is an unfortunate turn of events for Paul and for the Suns. Every season that he has been in a Phoenix jersey come postseason, his body has failed him. Phoenix will carry on, and Monty Williams will have to make the appropriate adjustments. One advantage that Phoenix does possess is the fact that they are returning home.
Get well, Chris.