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Chris Paul expected to return against the Suns

Chris Paul is expected to return for the Houston Rockets on Thursday night after missing all but one game this season with a bruised left knee.

The point guard, who is in his first year with the Rockets after a trade from the Clippers, returned to practice on Wednesday. Coach Mike D’Antoni says the plan is for him to start on Thursday when Houston visits the Phoenix Suns.

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“He’s ready to go,” D’Antoni said. “I think he’s playing tomorrow. We’ll see. It’s good. Now, what we have done up to now doesn’t count. We have a new team tomorrow. When you put that big of a rock into a pond, there’s big waves. We have to figure out, one, give him a chance to get into game shape, and two, everybody’s rotation is a little bit different.”

D’Antoni said Paul would start and play about 20 minutes with Eric Gordon coming off the bench.

Paul bruised the knee in a collision with Memphis guard Mario Chalmers on Oct. 11 in Memphis. He played Oct. 17 at Golden State, scoring just four points, but with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He struggled badly with the knee in that game, with the Rockets initially considering him day-to-day to return before the decision was made to hold him out entirely until he could be considered 100 percent.

The Rockets have played well despite his absence, with James Harden leading the Rockets to an 11-4 record, second in the Western Conference behind the Warriors.

Paul says he still has a way to go, but he’s excited to be nearing his return.

“I’m going to go out and hoop tomorrow,” Paul said on Wednesday. “Might score 5. Might score 50.”

He doubted himself about the 50 shortly after that, but it’s clear that he’s ready to play.

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Categories: Sports