Chris Paul’s status for crucial Game 6 uncertain with hamstring injury
Star guard Chris Paul departed Houston’s Western Conference finals game five win over Golden State in the final minute Thursday and his status for game six was unclear.
Paul played a pivotal role in the Rockets 98-94 triumph, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the second half.
But after missing a shot in the lane with 51.7 seconds remaining, he hit the court and came up clutching the back of his right thigh.
At first unwilling to depart, he finally limped off after a chat with Rockets athletic trainer Keith Jones during a timeout with 22.4 seconds to play.
“We’ll see,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said when asked about Paul’s status for Saturday’s game six, when the Rockets can clinch a berth in the NBA Finals.
“He’ll be evaluated tomorrow, but obviously you saw him limp off, and he’s a tough guy,” D’Antoni said. “They’ll do whatever they can do. If he’s there, great. If he isn’t, we have enough guys. … We’ll be all right.”
Paul, the league’s Rookie of the Year in the 2005-06 season and a nine-time All-Star, is playing in the conference finals for the first time.
The 33-year-old, who starred for the Los Angeles Clippers before arriving in Houston in a trade last June, missed 24 games this season with a variety of injuries.
“His spirits aren’t great,” D’Antoni admitted. “He wanted to be out there, and for sure he’s worried and all that. That’s normal.”
Warriors star Draymond Green said uncertainty over Paul’s status wouldn’t change Golden State’s preparation for their must-win game six.
“That’s not our focus,” Green said. “We’ve got to prepare like he’s going to play. He’s a great player, right in the middle of everything they do.”