The news of Chris Paul’s thumb injury came at a terrible time for the Suns, who currently hold the NBA’s best record at 48-10. While the team has been great overall, there’s no doubt that the Point God has been a big reason behind their consistency this season. Paul is averaging 14.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 1.9 steals while only turning the ball over 2.4 times a game.
His ageless play has helped make the entire team better, and they’ve proven to be capable of responding to adversity throughout the season. This latest setback comes at a time where there’s only roughly a quarter of the season left to play, so they’re probably not in danger of dropping down too much in the standings even if they go on a losing streak without their star point guard.
While speaking to ESPN, Paul shared that he’s not planning to rush his recovery, but will be back as soon as he feels physically ready.
This extended break could be a blessing for disguise, considering Paul will turn 37 in the middle of the playoffs. With only a few seasons left in his career, and while on a team that has serious title aspirations, you couldn’t blame the veteran if he were to try to come back early. At the very least, this forced rest could help him out.
The heavy wear and tear of an NBA season can affect even the most resilient players, and those little niggling injuries can add up. A break from basketball, which would allow Paul to fully relax and heal up, could be just what he needs to enter the playoffs fresh and in great shape.
There are a few examples of such a break working out for other NBA players this season. Joel Embiid, who played through a knee injury in last year’s playoffs, was also forced to take a break when he got Covid this season. While the actual experience with the disease was a terrible experience for the Cameroonian center, he’s since come back strong and is now a legitimate MVP candidate for the second season in a row. In 2022, Embiid is averaging 34 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 blocks.
Bam Adebayo is another example, as he played through pain last season and during the Olympics. He underwent thumb surgery last December and was forced to take a break, and now has been playing strong for the East-leading Miami Heat.
Embiid and Adebayo are just two examples of players whose bodies benefited from forced rest, and they’re much younger than Paul. With all that the years have piled onto his body, it wouldn’t surprise me if CP3 came back very strong. Sure, missing him for up to two months isn’t an ideal situation for the Suns, but it could actually pay off come playoff time.