Ryan Kelly's hamstring issues a cautionary tale for Chris Paul

 Ryan Kelly's hamstring issues a cautionary tale for Chris Paul
Lakers forward Ryan Kelly, left, makes contact with Clippers point guard Chris Paul during a loss to the Clippers at Staples Center on April 5. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Clippers have a serious decision to make Friday. Do they try to play Chris Paul after their star point guard suffered a left hamstring strain Saturday in a series-clinching Game 7 win over the San Antonio Spurs?

Paul sat out the first two games of Clippers' second-round matchup against the Houston Rockets, which will pick up Friday at Staples Center with the series tied at one apiece.

The experience of second-year Laker Ryan Kelly is a cautionary tale for the Clippers -- his lingering hamstring issue ultimately knocked him out for the first two months of the season.

Kelly first felt soreness in training camp, sitting out precautionary. He got through just seven minutes of his season debut Nov. 4 but needed to sit another 10 days before trying again

When he played limited minutes over a two-game stretch, the result was a torn hamstring that knocked him out completely for more than six weeks.

The Clippers stole home-court advantage from the Rockets in Game 1, despite playing without Paul. They might lose that edge should he sit Game 3.

Then again, if Paul comes back too quickly, he may find himself going down the same path as Kelly.

The Clippers may survive the Rockets, but the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals?

As of Thursday, the Clippers still weren't sure whether their All-Star point guard will suit up.  Whatever the decision, the team faces significant risks with their All-Star's hamstring.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus