When Chris Paul fractured his hand during the Golden State Warriors narrow win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, it felt like something of a death blow in a cursed season. The Dubs have struggled with injuries, suspensions, poor play, minutes crunches, and a lack of chemistry all year. The result has been a very frustrating package, and when it was announced that Paul’s injury would require surgery, it felt like the end was in sight.
But it looks like Paul’s injury won’t be the death blow, which isn’t to say the team won’t suffer one. We tend to think of an injury that requires surgery as being very long-term, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul is expected to return by mid-February.
Wojnarowski reported on Sunday that Paul is “expected to miss four to six weeks,” which would put his potential return between February 4 and 18. That latter date happens to be the day of the All-Star Game, which CP3 will obviously not be playing in. But if that’s when he’s ready to return, then he’ll get a few extra days before kicking off the unofficial start of the second half, when the Dubs host the Los Angeles Lakers on February 22. That conservative timeline would put Paul in line to play the final 28 games of the season, which is more than enough to give the Warriors a chance at righting the ship, winning some game, and sliding into the playoffs ... though we’ll see where things stand when that time rolls around.
There is, of course, a chance that the Warriors decide to punt on the season between now and CP3’s return, and trade Paul ahead of the February 8 trade deadline. That doesn’t feel very likely to me, though, since they’d be unlikely to get much in return, and while the Warriors have a million issues this season, the Hall of Fame-bound point guard doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Heal up, CP3. Hopefully there’s a halfway-decent Warriors team for you to play for when your hand is healthy.