Report: Chris Paul expects to return as Suns face NBA-best Celtics
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul, barring a pregame setback, is expected to return from a heel injury Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, reports TNT’s Chris Haynes.
Paul has missed the last 14 games with heel soreness, last playing in a Nov. 7 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He spoke to reporters Wednesday after shootaround and was hesitant to call himself back in the fold.
“I’m going to see how I feel after this and go from there,” Paul said.
“It’s a lot that go into it,” he added. “Just trying to push it. Fellas been playing so many games, I ain’t really have a chance to practice and have a real five-on-five. Got to see how it responds … It’s been a while. Excited to wait and see what happens.”
Chris Paul running with some resistance after shootaround ahead of a possible return to the lineup tonight pic.twitter.com/NSyXFmHfxH
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) December 7, 2022
The Suns upgraded Paul and forward Torrey Craig from out to questionable on Tuesday ahead of the team’s home game against the Celtics, who lead the NBA with a 20-5 record.
Craig has missed the past three games with a groin strain but told reporters he expected to return as well.
Suns president of basketball operations James Jones told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo hours before the game that Craig was good to go for Wednesday while Paul remained questionable.
Phoenix (16-8) also listed backup guard Duane Washington Jr. as out with a left hip strain.
On the Celtics’ injury report, Boston on Wednesday afternoon ruled out center Al Horford due to health and safety protocols.
Phoenix has lost two of its past three as the frontline has been thinned out by Craig’s injury on top of Cam Johnson (meniscus surgery recovery) and Jae Crowder (away from team) not contributing.
Dario Saric and Ish Wainright have filled in minutes at power forward.
Craig’s return would steady the defense to some degree, but certainly, Paul’s presence would add juice to a matchup between the teams respectively leading their conference.
Paul is averaging 9.5 points, 9.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per outing over his 10 games played but had yet to find a rhythm with his shot. He hit 37% overall and 27% from three-point range to begin the year.
Point guard Cam Payne has averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 assists and a steal while shooting 40% from three in the 14 games as the fill-in starter for Paul.
The Suns host the Celtics with tipoff at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Listen on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app or ArizonaSports.com.