7:33pm: Paul has been ruled out for Game 1, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Coach Monty Williams provided an update on Paul’s status after today’s practice.
“Because of the climate that we live, things change from day-to-day,” Williams said. “I try to take it one day at a time. I certainly understand the line of questions, but for me, based on the information and based on the history of this particular protocol, everything is day-to-day. So that’s how I have to approach it.”
Paul received the COVID-19 vaccination, but he still returned a positive test earlier this week. He was required to quarantine and will have to register multiple negative tests and be given medical clearance before he can play.
Paul is coming off his best game of the playoffs, scoring 37 points Tuesday as the Suns completed a sweep of the Nuggets. He appeared to be fully recovered from the shoulder injury that slowed him in the first-round series against the Lakers.
Phoenix had been hoping for a seventh game in the semifinal series between the Clippers and Jazz to give Paul more time, but L.A.’s win Friday night means the Western Conference finals will start Sunday.
Cameron Payne will likely take Paul’s place in the starting lineup if he’s not active, Rankin adds, with E’Twaun Moore and Jevon Carter possibly getting more playing time. Devin Booker may also see a few minutes at point guard.