For Chris Paul, speculation about injuries that might have been weighing him down during the playoffs lingered all through June and July. This week we learned that Paul did, in fact, have a surgery—a minor procedure on his wrist that should not keep him out of training camp.
Addressing the injury on ESPN from Summer League, general manager James Jones did not sound particularly concerned about the surgery.
“Sometimes, father time, you can’t heal, you go and clean it up,” Jones said during a broadcast interview, via AZCentral.com. “For Chris, it was something minor. He’ll be ready in a couple of weeks to get back out on the court with these guys as we start to try to get back after this short offseason.”
Training camp is slated to begin at the end of September, giving Paul plenty of time to get healthy before the start of the 2021-22 season.
Paul Excelled in the Postseason — With a Few Minor Bumps
Paul, remember, got off to a very slow start in the postseason as he dealt with a shoulder injury in the opening-round series against the Lakers. He averaged 9.2 points in 28.3 minutes in that series, but bounced back with a strong performance against the Nuggets in the Suns’ second-round sweep. Paul averaged 25.5 points and shot 62.7% from the field in those four games.
Then, of course, there was the COVID-19 issue Paul had at the opening of the Western Conference finals against the Clippers. He missed Games 1 and 2 of that series but came back and, in the Game 6 clincher, scored 41 points.
Still, there was speculation about Paul’s health in the NBA Finals against the Bucks, when he averaged 21.8 points and 8.2 assists. He did struggle with turnovers in the series and was asked whether his hand injury was bothering him after Game 4.
“No, I’m good,” Paul said curtly.
Paul, Fellow Suns Support Summer League Group
Paul made an appearance at the Las Vegas Summer League on Sunday in support of Phoenix’s entry into the tournament, which lost its opener to the Lakers. The Suns’ Jalen Smith, who did not play much as a rookie, led the way with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
He was joined by Jones, Devin Booker, Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges.
It has been a particularly busy summer for Paul, who was a free agent to enter August after he declined his $44 million player option for next season. But he signed a new four-year, $120 million contract with Phoenix at the start of free agency. The contract will carry him through age 40.
For Jones, it was worth it. Paul’s presence changed the culture of an otherwise very young Phoenix group.
“What he’s meant to this franchise, what he’s meant to this team the last six to nine months is immeasurable,” Jones told ESPN. “We’re excited to have him back and looking forward to continuing our progress this season.”
Paul made another big decision this offseason, giving up his post as the head of the NBPA, a job he had held for eight years. He was replaced by Portland guard C.J. McCollum.