What seemed like an overly cautious DNP for Chris Paul on Wednesday against the Kings might turn out to be more serious. According to The New York Times’ Marc Stein, Paul will miss Houston’s home opener against Dallas and could be out of competition for at least a month. The team listed him as “day-to-day,” and has discussed his return in cautious terms seeing as it already has the postseason in mind.
Paul didn’t play down the stretch of Houston’s first game, on Tuesday against the Warriors, because of his lingering knee issue. Understandably, his performance was not the start he wished for in Houston. The guard scored four points on 2-of-9 shooting, with 11 assists and eight rebounds.
“I think on one leg, [his performance in the season opener was] pretty good,” Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s hurt.” Whether the team knew the knee injury was as serious as the rumors indicate is unclear. But because of Paul’s long injury history, Houston will be cautious about rushing him back to the court.
The Rockets are 2–0, having edged Golden State (122–121) and Sacramento (105–100) without a healthy Paul. If the month-long recovery timeline that the team gave for Paul is accurate, Houston will be without its starting point guard during a relatively light stretch of the regular season. The Rockets will mostly feast on cupcakes aside from two matchups with the Sixers, a contest against Utah, and a game against the Cavaliers on November 9. Paul may supercharge last year’s engine, but for now, the Rockets will use the backcourt formula that took them to the Western semifinals last postseason: Give the ball to James Harden and shoot 40 3s.