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Houston Rockets: Chris Paul is getting closer to his return

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Chris Paul has missed nearly the entire season with a knee injury, but he is getting closer to returning to the floor, according to Mike D’Antoni.

cSo far, we’ve only seen Chris Paul play for 33 regular season minutes in a Rockets jersey.

The star point guard bumped knees with Mario Chalmers of the Memphis Grizzlies in the preseason, and he hasn’t been completely healthy since. Paul sat out in the next preseason game against San Antonio, and it looked like the Rockets were just taking a precautionary measure.

But when Paul played in the season opener against Golden State, it was clear that he wasn’t 100 percent. Paul was visibly limping at times on the court and he wasn’t able to finish the fourth quarter of that game.

The Rockets have elected to give CP3 as much time as he needs to recover, which is a smart move. Paul came to Houston in order to have better success in May and possibly June, not in October and November. But the good news is that Paul could be back sooner rather than later.

Chris Paul is rounding second base.

According to Mike D’Antoni, Chris Paul will need about five practices to get in-game shape once he is cleared for basketball activities, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Mike D’Antoni on Chris Paul’s return: “He’s probably rounding second and pretty close to third.” D’Antoni estimated Paul would need “five days or so” of practice once he’s cleared for basketball activities to build up his endurance before returning to game action. “I just hope we can get him back quickly so we can start building on what we really have.”

The Rockets had to send away a lot of solid role players in the Chris Paul trade, but they haven’t skipped a beat without them. The Rockets are 8-3, which is tied with the Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference. Houston is also on a three game winning streak after posting double-digit wins over New York, Atlanta and Utah.

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Houston has been on a roll so far to start the season, and hopefully Chris Paul can add to that. His veteran leadership, playmaking abilities and defense should turn the Rockets into a formidable ball club.