Chris Paul Listed As Probable For Game 3

Chris Paul‘s availability could determine the Suns‘ chances to knock off the Lakers in the first round, and Phoenix fans have reason to be encouraged for Game 3. The veteran guard is listed as probable for Thursday’s contest in the official injury report, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

After suffering a right shoulder contusion in Game 1, Paul was visibly limited in the Game 2 loss Tuesday night, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The shoulder was wrapped with kinesiology tape, but Paul moved much slower than usual and passed up midrange shots that he normally takes.

Suns coach Monty Williams didn’t want to risk further injury with so much of the series left to play. He took Paul out of the game four minutes into the second half and kept him on the bench for the rest of the third quarter. He let Paul play about two and a half minutes in the fourth quarter, but pulled him for good with 7:01 remaining.

“That was all me,” Williams said of the decision. “Just looking at him holding his arm the way that he was, I just couldn’t watch him run like that. He was trying to make plays. He battled. I just made a decision to take him out.”

Paul said he “heard a crack” after colliding with teammate Cameron Johnson in the second quarter on Sunday. Johnson’s shoulder hit the side of Paul’s face and caused his neck to twist. Paul grabbed his right trapezius in pain after the collision, but the problem turned out to be with his shoulder. Phoenix isn’t releasing much information on the injury, other than calling it a contusion.

The team spent two days working on Paul’s shoulder and arm mobility. He wasn’t listed on the Game 2 injury report, and the Suns were encouraged by the progress he showed at Tuesday’s shootaround. Those feelings quickly changed once the game began.

“He’s not able to make the passes he wants,” Williams told reporters afterward. “He was laboring tonight. I don’t want to get into too many details until I talk to him. But you could see that his arm wasn’t … he wasn’t even running the way he ran and dribbled the ball this morning.”

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