A lot of teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, are glad that the 2012-13 NBA season is going to start on time. The Clippers have to feel they’re getting a bonus, though, because Chris Paul sounds ready to start on time too.
The All-Star point guard is coming off August surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and said at a GQ promotional event Monday that his rehab has him on schedule for October basketball. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com wrote:
[Paul] went through basketball drills without a protective brace around his right thumb for the first time Monday, and said he anticipates playing in at least one preseason game and being ready for the Clippers’ season opener Oct. 30 versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Today was the first day they actually allowed me to shoot layups so today was the best day ever,” Paul told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I hope I get a preseason game in before the season. I probably have to start off the season wearing a brace but I get to wear the brace less and less. I wear it when I go to sleep but I’m on track. I go to rehab every single morning at 6:30 a.m.”
After the Clippers guard injured the thumb during Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas, Paul and teammates thought he might miss the London Olympics. When he learned that surgery was the next step, he opted to tape up the thumb and play for the 2012 gold medal.
“The scariest part was when I injured it in Vegas. During the 30-minute ride to the hospital, me and some of the Team USA staff were acting like we were riding to a funeral,” Paul said.
Now he’s reborn with a freshly stocked Clippers team – Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Ronny Turiaf are among the new faces – and eager to fight for hoops control of L.A. Last season, the Clippers (40-26) finished just one game behind the Lakers (41-25), lost Chauncey Billups to an Achilles injury and, remember, didn’t have Paul until the trade with New Orleans finally cleared league hurdles on Dec. 14. The season began 11 days later. He averaged 19.8 points, 9. 1 assists and 2.5 steals in 60 appearances.
“It’s no secret; everybody in my family knows I wanted to go to the Clippers,” Paul said. “I may be different in a way but I’ve always jumped at the opportunity to do something that’s never been done, and here with the Clippers with Blake [Griffin] and DJ [DeAndre Jordan] and adding these pieces and stuff like that, I’m excited about the opportunities there.”
More than that, Paul will be around and available to chase them.