Coach Doc Rivers said there was a “50-50” chance that All-Star guard Chris Paul would play Sunday when the Clippers host the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center.
But Rivers said that no matter what, Paul would play in the NBA All-Star game next Sunday in New Orleans.
Rivers talked to the media before the team practiced Saturday, so he hadn’t seen Paul do anything on the court.
Paul has been doing some one-on-one contract drills, shooting and running in the last couple of weeks.
“I fully know that he wants to play,” Rivers said. “Let’s put it that way. I just don’t know if we’re going to allow him to play yet.”
Paul has said on many occasions that he wants to play in the All-Star game.
“I like him playing in the All-Star game, personally,” Rivers said. “Whether he plays [Sunday] or plays the next game [Wednesday against Portland], I think this is a rare case where he’s ready to play and the All-Star game is probably the safest venue for him to play.”
Rivers said he wanted to see how Paul’s “body feels” and that he wanted to see his point guard “on the floor” before making a decision.
Rivers said the final decision will be made by Clippers head athletic trainer Jasen Powell, the team physicians and Paul.
“I just want to make sure that Chris is not pushing to play,” Rivers said. “Players do that.”
Paul has missed 18 consecutive games since being injured Jan. 3 at Dallas.
The Clippers have gone 12-6 with Paul out and maintained their lead in the Pacific Divisio, which stood at 3½ games over the Golden State Warriors before Saturday night’s games.
“The funniest story with Chris is after a week of this injury, I remember him saying, ‘You know, I’m feeling pretty good. I think I can probably go in a couple of days,’ ” Rivers recalled. “I said, ‘That will not happen.’ But that’s what players think. You want players like that. They are delusional sometimes -- in a good way, in a very good way.”
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