The Phoenix Suns are playing playoff basketball again and a big part of that success is Chris Paul.
So when Paul went down with what looked at first to be a devastating shoulder injury in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers, it took the air out of Phoenix Suns Arena. He quickly returned despite the official diagnosis of a right shoulder contusion and heard the love from fans both in the arena and sitting around TVs.
Chris Paul leaves Suns-Lakers in first half
Paul fell to the court attempting to rebound against LeBron James in the second half and agonizingly grasped at his shoulder. On the replay, he appeared to slam into teammate Cameron Johnson.
Players from both teams gathered around Paul down on the court, and James specifically came over to check on and talk to him.
Paul, a 16-year veteran who has a lengthy injury history, was able to walk off the court. The Arizona Republic's Duane Rankin said on Twitter he wasn't walking steady and appeared to be dazed, but wasn't grabbing at anything while walking off the court. It was quiet in the Suns' arena after the incident.
The 11-time All-Star quickly returned and re-entered the game, much to the excitement of Phoenix fans as they greeted him with more "MVP" chants. He warmed up with short shots near the rim to test the arm, though he didn't make many of them.
Will Chris Paul play in Game 2?
Despite Paul briefly going back to the locker room during a rest break in the second half, he finished Game 1 to take a 1-0 series lead over the Lakers.
Paul did not appear to be in favoring the shoulder later in the game. After the game, he told reporters that he would "absolutely" be ready for Game 2.
Game 2 is Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.
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