The Phoenix Suns might have to go into the Western Conference Finals without their starting guard Chris Paul after he was placed on the league’s Health and Safety Protocols indefinitely.
The Suns did not say why he is on protocol; NBA health and safety protocols are for players who tested positive for the Coronavirus or who were in close contact with an individual who tested positive.
Paul is fully vaccinated, so he may not have to be isolated for a long period of time or at all. The Suns will provide an update on Paul on Saturday. Head coach Monty Williams has yet to consider that Paul could possibly miss game one of the Western Conference Finals.
“I’m not even going to go there until I have to, so there’s no reason for me to be pessimistic at all,” Williams said. “We just have to wait and see what’s going to happen.”
In the wake of players and coaches getting vaccinated, the NBA created more lenient protocols for individuals who received the COVID vaccine back in March.
Paul is one of the eight NBA All-Stars who have been sidelined with injury during the Playoffs this year, the most in NBA history.
“There’s a natural concern of the person, that’s basically where it ends,” Williams said. “Everybody’s dealing with it, if you look around the league [the 76er’s] got a situation, the Clippers have a situation … Now we’re in a situation where all we can do is practice and wait to see what happens.”
For players in health and safety protocols, players can return to play through a test-based or time-based resolution.
The test-based resolution requires players to return two consecutive positive PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. The time-based resolution consists of the player staying in isolation for at least 10 days since their first positive test or the start of symptoms.
If they had symptoms, they most go 24 hours after the fever went away or when the symptoms subsided before they can leave isolation. Players must also do a cardiac screen once they are ready to being workouts.
During the 2020-2021 season, Paul averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game. In the Playoffs, he averaged 15.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game.
“My faith isn’t going to waver now because we’ve had a few obstacles,” Williams said. “We’ve had obstacles all season long and gotten through a lot of stuff. You look forward to these challenges, you embrace them, and you move forward.”