Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns shoots and scores on a three-point attempt under coverage by Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has been symptom-free since testing positive for COVID-19 and remains quarantined in Los Angeles, where he has a home, according to Yahoo! Sports‘ Chris Haynes.
That has the Suns “encouraged with the progress” of Paul’s eventual return and believing he can clear the NBA’s health and safety protocols “early” in the Western Conference Finals, reports Haynes.
Paul missed Game 1 of the Suns’ matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, which his team won 120-114 on Sunday.
Cameron Payne started at point guard for Paul and finished with 11 points and nine assists to one turnover.
Suns shooting guard Devin Booker carried a bigger load, going for 40 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds with only two giveaways.
Booker walked off the court following the victory while on a FaceTime call with Paul, and he took that conversation into the locker room, where Paul virtually joined his teammates as they put a bow on the Game 1 win at Phoenix Suns Arena.
“He’s our leader, we lean on him for a lot. And we know how disappointed he is and frustrated he is that he couldn’t be out here for Game 1 in the Western Conference Finals, especially knowing his past history around this time,” Booker said.
“We had him (on the phone) all the way through: We had him in the locker room, we had him in our after-game huddle. He’s proud of us. He’s ready to get back. We can’t wait to have him.”
By the NBA’s protocols, vaccinated players must either wait 10 days after testing positive and show no symptoms for at least 24 hours or — the more likely option for a vaccinated player — receive two back-to-back PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. There are also cardiac tests involved in being cleared.
Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported Wednesday that Paul is vaccinated.
Where Paul is in the return process is unclear, but the Suns next face the Clippers for another home game Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Listen to Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.