Amid the negativity swirling around their camp, Monty Williams remains hopeful that Chris Paul will still be able to suit up for the Phoenix Suns as they are currently on the edge of their Conference Semis duel against the Denver Nuggets.
“I’m optimistic just because I believe in a number of things,” said Williams, per Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin. “Our medical staff. Chris fights his tail off to get back. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Paul sustained a groin injury during the Suns’ Game 2 matchup against the Nuggets last Monday after fighting for a defensive board against swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
As they were leading 59-53 before the exit, this ultimately slided down Phoenix on another loss – now facing an 0-2 hole heading to Thursday’s Game 3.
It was announced by the Suns via Twitter that Paul is unavailable day-to-day as further examinations have determined that he suffered from a groin strain, with several sources whispering that he will take a week of recovery to be re-evaluated.
“We’re obviously game planning for it now,” Devin Booker said of Paul’s absence. “You can’t replace what Chris brings to the team. He’ll still be there being a leader, being vocal, but the things he does on the court, we’re just going to have to find other ways to be effective and make sure everybody is involved. Just try to do some of the Chris Paul stuff.”
With Paul out, Booker is expected to shoulder a piece of ball handling responsibility. Meanwhile, Cam Payne is set to take the mantle temporarily and become the team’s primary point man for now.
Payne started in 15 of his total 48 games this season in which he averaged 10.3 points and 4.5 assists.
“Gratefully, he didn’t tear it or something like that where he’s done for the season,” Williams said of Paul. “You always have to look at the bright side of a tough situation. We’re just grateful that it wasn’t worse than we thought.”