Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that point guard Chris Paul, sidelined with an injured hamstring, has made some notable improvements.
"He went from really doing nothing, to yesterday he had a pretty hard workout in the pool, today he's having a workout on the floor, so I think those are the right steps," Rivers said.
Rivers added that although Paul has made some strides, his status for Game 3 of the Clippers' second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on Friday night was still uncertain.
"He's working out right now and I think everything is going well, but we still don't know anything about tomorrow yet," Rivers said.
Paul strained his left hamstring Saturday in Game 7 of the Clippers' first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs. Paul, who started all 82 games of the regular season and all seven games in the opening round against the Spurs, has missed Games 1 and 2 against the Rockets. The series is tied 1-1.
Without Paul, the Clippers won Game 1 on Monday, 117-101. They then lost Game 2 on Wednesday, 115-109.
Rivers said he would consult with Clippers trainer Jasen Powell about Paul's condition before Game 3, and use what he called the "eye and field test."
"With the hamstring, there really is no gauge," Rivers said.
When pressed, Rivers said the chances of Paul playing in Game 3 were better than they were in Games 1 and 2, when he was also listed as questionable.
"Better than yesterday, I guess, because it's an extra day," Rivers said. "And tomorrow will be better than today. But I really don't know. We just have to wait and find out."
Rivers said that even though Paul hasn't been on the court against the Rockets, he's been a big help from the bench.
"He has a better connection with the players on the floor than I do," Rivers said. "He plays with them."
The Clippers and Rockets have only one day off between Games 2 and 3 of their series, while some other teams have had three days off. Rivers said Paul told him he could have used such an extended break.
"He's trying to fight health and obviously the extra days would have benefited him," Rivers said. "I said listen, you're right, but it is what it is, and we just have to deal with it."
Rivers likened that stroke of luck to another recent challenge the Clippers had to overcome.