Suns vs. Lakers: Chris Paul leaves Game 5 with apparent shoulder injury

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Chris Paul has been playing through an injured shoulder since Game 1 of the Phoenix Suns’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, but in Phoenix’s Game 4 victory, it looked as though he’d finally turned a corner and was starting to get healthy. He scored 18 points and posted nine assists in that win. But this series, which has already claimed Anthony Davis’ health, just wouldn’t allow Paul to recover in peace. 

The Suns had dominated the first half of Game 5, but with around half of the third quarter left to play, Paul was still in the game despite a 33-point lead. As he and Wesley Matthews fought for a rebound, Matthews committed a foul on Paul that sent him to the floor writhing in pain holding that right shoulder. 

Fortunately for the Suns, Paul was healthy enough to shoot the two free throws after a lengthy review. However, immediately afterward, the Suns committed an intentional foul to get Paul off of the floor with a 35-point lead. He went back to the locker room from there for further evaluation. 

Paul’s history of postseason injuries is extensive, but Game 5 victories have been especially unkind to him. In 2018, he hurt his hamstring at the end of a Game 5 victory in the Western Conference finals. He did not play again that season, his best chance at a championship. This incident does not seem nearly as severe, but with Game 6 in Los Angeles only two days away, Phoenix will need to hope for a speedy recovery if they want to close the Lakers out on the road. 

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