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Sport Suns star Chris Paul 'out after entering NBA's COVID-19 protocols'

19:41  16 june  2021
19:41  16 june  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul's status for the upcoming Western Conference Finals is now in doubt after he reportedly entered the NBA's health and safety protocols — a sign that he may have contracted COVID-19 or was exposed to someone who has.

Paul's status has not been updated officially, but he has entered the health and safety protocols, according to multiple reports.

The protocols are the league's playbook for handling all matters related to the coronavirus this season. There have been examples of players missing multiple weeks following positive COVID-19 tests; there have also been examples of players missing very short amounts of time for matters such as contact tracing investigations.

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Further complicating Paul's status for the Western Conference Finals is the question of whether or not the 11-time All-Star is vaccinated. That's significant because there are different rules for players, depending on whether they're vaccinated. Spokespeople for the Suns did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com's email asking if Paul is, in fact, vaccinated.

In March, the league relaxed some of the protocols that were put into place last fall, doing so in response to players and coaches choosing to receive the vaccine that protects against the coronavirus.

But the league also cautioned at that time that 'if an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the previous protocols apply' — which would still mean that anyone with those symptoms 'may be subject to quarantine' regardless of their vaccination status.

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The Suns are not certain exactly how long Paul will have to be away from the team, the person said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the player nor the team have publicly released anything.

The Athletic first reported that Paul was entering the protocols.

The earliest the West finals would begin is Sunday. It depends on how long the ongoing Jazz-Clippers conference semifinal lasts. If it ends Friday, then Game 1 between the winner of that series and the Suns will be Sunday afternoon.

Otherwise, the likely start date for Game 1 of the West series is Tuesday.

Paul scored 37 points in Game 4 of the West semifinals against Denver, helping Phoenix finish off a four-game sweep. He has only played in the West finals once in his career, doing so in 2018 with Houston against Golden State. The Rockets held a 3-2 lead in that series when Paul injured a hamstring and had to miss Games 6 and 7; Houston lost both and the Warriors went on to win the NBA title.

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He is averaging 15.7 points and 8.7 assists per game in these playoffs, shooting 51 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3-point range and 91 percent from the foul line.

A veteran of 16 NBA seasons, Paul is still searching for his first NBA title, and the second-seeded Suns may be his best chance to get a ring. Despite his advancing age, Paul still averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists during the regular season, while leading the NBA with a 93.4 percent mark at the free throw line.

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Chris Paul: Phoenix Suns guard still in health and safety protocols just ahead of Western Conference Finals Game 1 .
The Suns announced on Saturday (ET) that All-Star guard Chris Paul remains in health and safety protocols just 24 hours before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The team announced on Saturday (ET), just shy of 24 hours before tip-off of Game 1 against the LA Clippers, that Paul is still in health and safety protocols and "further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate." The Suns say Chris Paul remains in health and safety protocols. Further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate.

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