About 10 minutes before the start of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, TNT reported some tough news: Chris Paul’s right thumb is fractured, and he will be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks. Paul suffered the injury in the third quarter of Phoenix’s win vs. the Rockets on Wednesday, just prior to begin ejected for bumping a referee.
Here’s a look at the injury:
This is a potentially brutal blow for the Suns, who have the best record in the league and are probably the title favorites at this point in the season. If Paul is out the full eight weeks, he would be done for the remainder of the regular season with the playoffs set to start on April 16.
Even if he’s back in time for the playoffs, he will have been out for an extended period and will have to regain his conditioning and rhythm on the fly. Phoenix is a well-oiled machine right now. This throws a major wrench in their engine.
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The good news, if there is such a thing with this development, is the Phoenix has built up a seven-game lead in the loss column over the No. 2 Warriors, so hanging on to the No. 1 seed feels doable even without Paul. Devin Booker is capable of leading the way, but there’s no way to overstate the importance of Paul. He controls everything for the Suns, and when games get tight, he’s one of the best clutch players in the league.