Paul had his fair share of injuries during the regular season, so we aren’t surprised to see him injured again in the post-season. Paul started out the season limited with both a bruised right shoulder and bruised left knee. The knee injury became a serious concern and ended up holding Paul out for 14 games at the beginning of the season. Then in December, Paul was held out of three games with a groin/adductor injury. His absence contributed to a five game losing streak for the Rockets. The point guard strained his right groin at the end of January, an injury that forced him to miss one game and limited his performance when he was able to play. His left knee flared up again in March, but Paul was able to play through the pain. Unfortunately, playing through the knee pain forced him to over compensate and he wound up with a strained hamstring. He missed 5 total games to the injury, but was back on the sidelines shortly after his return with a sore left hip.
That is a long list of lower body injuries, which is why Paul has been a High Injury Risk virtually all season long. He can’t seem to go more than a few weeks without sustaining some sort of sprain or strain, and his repeated knee and hamstring injuries are a major concern. When the Rockets acquired Paul, we said he would be a big asset, but we also highlighted the risk he comes with. Unfortunately, they may have to pay the price in the Western Conference Finals.
Paul made it through the first few rounds, essentially unscathed. But he admitted after Game 2 of the WCF that he was dealing with some soreness in his left calf. He played through the injury, but there were times the he looked noticeably gassed. It then leaked that Paul was also dealing with soreness in his right foot, but he still said he did not plan to take time to rest. This was Chris Paul‘s first time in a Conference Final, so we aren’t surprised he played through the injuries. Unfortunately, his lower body was at risk as his muscles were playing through injury and fatigue. It was the perfect scenario for an injury to occur. And that’s exactly what happened in Game 5.
Paul grabbed at his right hamstring as he fell at the end of the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game, and it didn’t look good. He received treatment on both hamstrings on the bench, which is worrisome considering he dealt with left hamstring issues earlier this year. After the game, coach Mike D’Antoni said he is “worried” about Paul’s availability for Game 6. “He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” D’Antoni said. After further evaluation on Friday, Paul was ruled out of Game 6. Both of his hamstrings are a concern at this point, and he’s possibly dealing with a moderate Grade 2 strain (which sometimes includes a small tear). He’ll be a High Injury Risk if he attempts to play in a possible Game 7 and his Poor Health Performance Factor suggests he won’t be much of an asset to the Rockets.