Suns’ Paul dealing with shoulder injury vs. Lakers

Sports

An injured Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul grimaces in pain during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul is dealing with a right shoulder injury during his team’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

The injury happened early in the second quarter when he bumped into teammate Cameron Johnson following LeBron James’ tip-in basket. He fell to the floor, appeared to be in substantial pain and was holding his right shoulder.

Paul was down on the floor for a few minutes, surrounded by players from both teams. The 11-time All-Star eventually got up and slowly walked to the locker room with a towel over his head. The Suns called the injury a right shoulder contusion.

The point guard returned — to huge roars from the crowd — for the end of the second quarter and part of the third but didn’t look confident with his right arm. He dribbled mostly with his left hand and lost the ball multiple times when dribbling with his right.

He eventually went to the locker room again after checking out of the game midway through the third quarter, but returned again a few minutes later.

The injury initially put a huge damper on a festive atmosphere in Phoenix. The Suns are playing in their first playoff game in 11 years. Paul’s arrival in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder during the offseason was one of the main reasons for the team’s improvement.

Paul has five points, four rebounds and eight assists through three quarters.

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