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Houston Rockets: Chris Paul will play in limited minutes

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
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Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets will play in limited minutes upon his return to the lineup on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns.

In case you haven’t heard the news by now, superstar point guard Chris Paul is expected to return to the Rockets lineup on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns.

Chris Paul hasn’t been 100 percent since he bumped knees with Mario Chalmers in the preseason. Paul tried to give it a go in the opener against the Warriors, but he obviously wasn’t healthy and he watched the conclusion of that game from the bench.

The Rockets haven’t missed a beat without their high-profile offseason acquisition, as they have jumped out to an 11-4 record, the second best in the west. The Rockets have the second best offense (110.0) in the league to go along with the 13th (103.3 ) best defense. Houston has turned into a respectable team on both sides of the ball, and that definitely makes them better equipped to win in the postseason.

Having Chris Paul back to harass opposing point guards should further improve Houston’s defense. But according to Mike D’Antoni, Paul will have a minutes restriction until he’s back in game-shape, via NBA.com.

“Again, we’ll just try to find out how he’s feeling, how he’s reacting and go from there — whether it’s two minutes or 20 minutes.”

Of course Paul, who is the ultimate competitor, doesn’t want to worry about a minutes restriction, via NBA.com.

“That’s tough. Anytime you want to play, you want to play. You don’t want to have to monitor or whatever, but we’ll see.”

The Rockets have been smart to not rush Paul back into the lineup too quickly. Now that he’s ready to return, the coaching staff wants to slowly integrate him back into game shape. The goal is to have Paul healthy and firing on all cylinders in May, not in November.

Next: What Chris Paul’s return brings to the first-place Houston Rockets

CP3 should have a large impact when Harden is out of the game. The Rockets have been missing a second point guard, and because of it they have struggled to keep leads when the bench unit is on the floor.

*All stats are from NBA.com

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