Chris Paul is back.
Ahead of Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, the Phoenix Suns announced that Paul is available.
Health Update | Game 3:- Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 24, 2021
Chris Paul: AVAILABLE - Health and Safety Protocols pic.twitter.com/B8kISeE81y
Paul last played in Game 4 of Phoenix's second-round series with the Denver Nuggets.
Why was Chris Paul out?
The Athletic's Shams Charania broke the news on July 16 that Paul had entered the league's health and safety protocols and would be out for "an indefinite period of time."
Paul's status for the start of the Western Conference finals is currently up in the air, sources say.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2021
Noteworthy: Depending on the medical circumstance, an isolation period could be shorter for a vaccinated individual. https://t.co/62r5bWzLOh
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Suns were hopeful that he would be cleared from health and safety protocols "at some point early in the Western Conference Finals."
Ahead of Game 2 between the Clippers and Suns tomorrow night, @ChrisBHaynes joins NBA TV to give the latest on CP3 & Kawhi. pic.twitter.com/S8GND9mr8V- NBA TV (@NBATV) June 22, 2021
During Game 3, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin reported that there was optimism that Paul could return for Game 3.
New story with @wojespn: There is optimism within the Suns organization that Chris Paul, out for the start of the Western Conference finals because of the league's health and safety protocols, could return for Thursday's Game 3 (correct link) https://t.co/GUy8v394vE- Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 23, 2021
In the day off between Games 2 and 3, Haynes reported that Paul intended to make his return in Game 3, barring any unforeseen setbacks.
BREAKING: Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul intends to make his return for Game 3 of WCF against the Los Angeles Clippers barring unforeseen setback, league sources tell @YahooSports. https://t.co/UgzGxX4aaZ- Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 23, 2021
What is the schedule of the Western Conference Finals?
The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 (June 24) and Game 4 (June 26). If necessary, the Suns and Clippers will return to Phoenix for Game 5 on June 28.
Game 6 would be played in Los Angeles on June 30 and Game 7 would be played in Phoenix on July 2.
How have the Suns played without Paul this season?
Paul was sidelined for only two games in the regular season.
On Feb. 8, Paul sat out Phoenix's 119-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a sore right hamstring. He then sat out the team's final game of the regular season - a 123-121 win over the San Antonio Spurs - for rest.
In the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Suns have outscored their opponent by an average of 13.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the court compared to 4.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.
The Suns were able to defeat the Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals without Paul, led by Devin Booker's first career triple-double. In Game 2, a career-night from Cameron Payne and a game-winner from Deandre Ayton lifted Phoenix to a 2-0 series lead.
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