Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul injury history and updates

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

How often has Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul been injured throughout his career? Paul is one of the more prolific guards of all time, but seems to have the worst luck when it comes to getting roughed up, especially when it matters most.

Here’s a look at some of Paul’s most notable injuries, as well as an update on his most recent injury.

Chris Paul injury update: Phoenix Suns guard out 6-8 weeks with thumb injury

Just minutes ahead of the NBA All-Star game, TNT announced that point guard Chris Paul fractured his thumb in the Suns’ final game ahead of the break. Paul played a few ceremonial minutes in the All-Star game, but could miss up to two months during the home stretch of the season.

At the break, Phoenix held a seven-game lead over the Golden State Warriors to top the Western Conference, and Paul missing time could be a devastating blow to their shot at maintaining their stranglehold on the division.

If Paul is out the full eight weeks, he’d miss the remainder of the regular season with a return date of April 17 with the postseason beginning on April 16.

Phoenix did deal with miss Paul for some time during the postseason and team has found ways to get it done on the court without him, but that’s more of a testament to how well he’s led while with the team. But there is no doubt that the Suns are a better team with Paul on the floor, especially in late-game situations.

Chris Paul injury update: Phoenix Suns guard out with COVID

UPDATE 6/24, 2:05 PM ET:  Chris Paul is back with the team as of Thursday afternoon after entering Covid protocols 8 days ago and missing the first two games of the Western Conference Finals.

Jae Crowder was the one to break the news to the media:

Presumably, this means Paul is out of Covid protocols and able to play as soon as Game 3 on Thursday night.

The Suns were able to win both games on their home floor even without Paul, but his return makes a good situation even better for Phoenix. They now have an excellent chance to go up 3-0 on the Clippers and put themselves in an excellent position to advance to the Finals.

Everything you need to know about Chris Paul’s Covid situation

Chris Paul simply can not catch a break. After overcoming a shoulder contusion in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs and subsequently helping the Suns sweep the Nuggets, Paul is out indefinitely after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The details of Paul entering the protocol are not entirely clear and are likely to remain private unless released by Paul himself. Entering protocol can happen in a number of ways, but it generally means Paul was exposed to the virus firsthand. Paul could have simply been exposed to a Covid-positive person, or he could have tested positive himself.

He will likely have to remain out and away from the Suns until he tests negative for the vaccine consecutively. As Charania notes in his report, the isolation and return period could be much shorter if Paul has gotten the vaccine.

Is Chris Paul vaccinated?

Since non-athletic health records are private, it’s not entirely clear whether or not Paul is currently vaccinated. Speaking to FanSided’s Gerald Bourguet in March regarding the NBPA’s stance on requiring vaccines for players (Paul is President of the Players Union), Paul said he felt the decision to get vaccinated was a highly personal one.

It’s important to note that this was a question posed for Paul on a league-wide and player mandate level, not one pointed at whether or not Paul personally has gotten vaccinated. Paul himself has yet to answer that question.

However, according to Jalen Rose speaking on ESPN’s The Jump this morning, Paul is vaccinated.

While that’s not from the team or an official source, it is a good word that Suns fans will be clinging to until they have something more firm.

To be clear, individuals can test positive for Covid even after vaccine inoculation. Early in the MLB’s season, a breakout in the Yankees clubhouse involved nine individuals testing positive, all of whom were vaccinated.

Shortstop Gleyber Torres was one of the individuals who tested positive. For reference, Torres missed eight days due to the positive Covid test and was vaccinated.

This is the NBA’s first notable run-in with the virus this postseason, and it will be interesting to see how the league handles it. At the moment, it doesn’t appear any concessions will be made for the Suns on account of a star player being out.

That said, time is on their side. Paul and the Suns benefit from having swept the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. Their opponent, the winner of the Utah Jazz/LA Clippers series, are knotted at 2-2, meaning it could buy the Suns enough time to get Paul back on the court, but it will depend on a number of variables.

Chris Paul injury history

Four-leaf clover, rabbit’s foot, something along those lines — Phoenix Suns fans should start clamoring for Chris Paul to carry something superstitious. His luck in the playoffs staying healthy has impeded his ability to perform and win at the highest level.

Chris Paul shoulder contusion, WC First Round 2021

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul played through a shoulder contusion for the better part of the first two games of the team’s opening-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul suffered the injury partway through the second quarter of Game 1, and it noticeably impeded his ability to be his normal self.

Through the first two games, Paul has scored just 13 points and logged 13 assists in just under 60 minutes of play. Monty Williams made the decision to take him out in Game 2, though to this point he has not been held out by team doctors.

The shoulder is clearly impacting his play. CP3 has attempted just one 3-pointer in the series, and none since the injury occurred. A vast majority of his shots since the injury have been taken near the right elbow of the key, limiting his ability to add a layer of unpredictability for opposing defenses to have to counter.

This has led to a decreased amount of good looks for Devin Booker, as well, who took just three 3-pointers in Game 2, missing each of them. Each of the attempted threes from Booker was “tightly” guarded, per Second Spectrum, further evidence that Paul’s diminished ability is allowing the Lakers to throw more at Booker and the team’s other stars.

To put it bluntly, the Suns are done if he can’t be himself.

Chris Paul hamstring injury, 2019

Chris Paul missed time in the middle of the 2018-19 season due to a hamstring injury. In this time, Austin Rivers stepped up tremendously.

Chris Paul hamstring injury, Western Conference Finals 2018

Chris Paul suffered a hamstring injury in 2018 that serves as one of the greatest “what-if” moments for Houston Rockets fans. Paul missed Game 6 and Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals in 2018, two games that the Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors by 29 and nine points, respectively.

Up 3-2 prior to him missing time, it’s clear his absence had an impact.

This injury could have cost the Rockets a title.

Chris Paul bruised knee, December 2017

Chris Paul missed 14 games near the start of 2017 due to a bruised knee.

Chris Paul torn thumb ligaments, 2017

Chris Paul missed 14 games in 2017 due to torn thumb ligaments.

Chris Paul broken hand, 2016 NBA Playoffs (opening round)

Chris Paul broke his hand in the first round of the 2016 playoffs while a member of the LA Clippers. The Clippers lost four straight games, including the final two without Paul, as the Trail Blazers waltzed onto the next round.

Chris Paul hamstring injury, 2015 Western Conference Semifinals

During the Western Conference Semifinals in 2015, Chris Paul, then a Clipper, missed the first two games against the Houston Rockets. The LA Clippers won the first game and lost the second. Paul would return in this series and averaged 21.2 points and 10.0 assists per game. His return wouldn’t be enough, though, as the Rockets won in an exciting Game 7 by 13 points.

Chris Paul separated shoulder, 2014

Chris Paul went down with a separated shoulder in 2014 and missed 18 straight games. This injury is perhaps the most comparable for Paul’s current contusion, though a contusion and a separation are much different. Paul averaged 18.6 points per game upon returning this season.

Chris Paul bruised kneecap, 2013

Chris Paul suffered a bruised kneecap in 2013. He missed a few games, came back to play in two games, and then went out for 9 more.

Chris Paul mysterious knee injury, 2010

In 2010, as a Hornet guard, Chris Paul went out “indefinitely” (at first, anyway) with a knee injury that was at first referred to as just a bruise. An MRI revealed there was underlying structural damage, but there was no tear to any ligaments, curiously. Paul came back later that season after missing 30 straight games.

Chris Paul sprained ankle, 2006-07

In Chris Paul’s sophomore season with the New Orleans Hornets, he missed a month due to a sprained ankle. As a result he did not play for the USA Team that summer.

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