LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Chris Paul #13 of the United States celebrates winning the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that All-Star point guard Chris Paul underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. The injury occurred last month during Team USA training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Shin, a hand specialist at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.
Paul is expected to be sidelined for approximately eight weeks, at which time he is projected to resume all basketball activities including full contact.
Paul went on to help lead Team USA to winning the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He started all eight games in the Olympics, averaging 8.3 points, 5.1 assists, an Olympic tournament-high 2.5 steals and 25.8 minutes per game.
As it says above, Paul injured the thumb at the beginning of training camp for the Olympic team, but was able to play through the injury to start every game in London on the way to the gold medal. It's clear that he was able to play well even with the injury, but that Paul took advantage of the only break in his summer to it taken care of.
In the LA Times, Brad Turner reports that Paul "should be ready for the start of training camp" but a quick check of the calendar calls that into question. If he is to be out eight weeks as the release states (and hopefully that's conservative) then he'll miss the start of camp, which is just about six weeks away. However, he should be back to full strength in plenty of time for the beginning of the season, which is about ten weeks away, again assuming the estimated recovery time is conservative or at least accurate.
This brings to two the number of Clipper superstar/Olympians who've had surgery this summer, as Blake Griffin was forced to miss the Olympics with a meniscus injury that required surgery. For those of you who want to use this as evidence that NBA players shouldn't be risking their careers playing in an extra-curricular tournament that has nothing to do with their NBA contracts, I would remind you that players can get hurt during the summer whether they are playing on the Olympic team or not.
In Paul's case, it seems like a complete non-issue. The guy has been playing basketball essentially non-stop since the lockout ended and he was traded to the Clippers. Eight weeks off (nine weeks from the end of the Olympics) should be about right to refresh his legs, and he'll come back ready to go no doubt.