CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chris Paul casually walked up to a basket during the Clippers' shoot-around Wednesday morning and took a left-handed shot, smiling as the ball floated toward the rim, his teammates laughing at his attempt.
It was clear from that shot that Paul still hasn't healed from the right shoulder separation that has put him out of commission since Jan. 3.
But Paul was back with his teammates on the road for the first time since the Clippers left Jan. 16, back wearing workout gear even if he knows he won't be playing.
"It's still in the healing process," Paul said.
The original timetable had Paul out up to six weeks. That time frame would leave Paul making his return around Feb. 14.
Asked if he was ahead of schedule, Paul said:
"I don't have a clue."
Paul said the pain in his shoulder is still "a little here and there."
"But it's feeling a lot better," he said. "I know that."
Paul said he did some rehabilitation on his shoulder in Los Angeles.
But the right-handed-shooting point guard said he still can't shoot a basketball.
"I'm still trying to get the range of motion where I want it at," Paul said. "Right now, I guess the only good thing about this thing is nothing happened to my legs. So I've been able to do conditioning and all that type of stuff."
When the NBA released its last All-Star balloting Jan. 9, Paul wasn't a Western Conference starter in the backcourt, falling behind the Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Golden State's Stephen Curry.
The NBA will announce its starters Thursday night.
"If I can play, I'm going to play," Paul said. "I'll tell you that. I just love to play. That's not saying that other guys don't. But I'm 28 years old. And the All-Star game is in New Orleans. That's part of me. That's where I played my very first All-Star game at. So any time you have that opportunity, I'm not going to pass it up, because it's not guaranteed to happen next year."
Paul said he has liked how Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have elevated their play in his absence and how the Clippers' defense "is really getting a lot better."
"You watch the games, you're like, 'Man, do they even need me?' Seriously," Paul said, smiling. "But it's exciting."
The Clippers improved to 7-3 without Paul.
Griffin has been selected to the U.S. team that will play in basketball's 2014 World Cup. The team officially will be announced Thursday.