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Clippers’ Paul sprains thumb in win, set for MRI

LOS ANGELES — Clippers guard Chris Paul sprained his left thumb with 3:04 left in the second quarter of Monday night's 120-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

X-rays on the thumb were negative, but further tests need to be done to determine the extent of the injury.

"We don't know yet," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game. "The original X-ray was negative on his left thumb. They're going to do an MRI tomorrow, so we'll know more. I didn't see [what happened]. I guess they said [Russell] Westbrook came down on [Paul's thumb]. But whenever you see a guard pull their hand out, you pretty much know what just happened."

Paul was defending Westbrook and sprained the thumb fighting over a screen set by Joffrey Lauvergne at the top of the 3-point line.

The Clippers called a timeout shortly after, and Paul immediately walked off the court, kicking the bench as he exited. Paul could be seen on the TNT broadcast shaking his head at Clippers team trainer Jasen Powell as they walked through the players tunnel to the locker room.

"You worry when he doesn't come back out in the second half," Clippers guard J.J. Redick said after the game. "Because I've seen Chris go off before, and he tries to play. So I'm not assuming the worst by any means, but I recognize that there's probably a good chance that he may be out a game or two, best case.

"Worst case, we'll deal with that. In the immediate future, hopefully it's not serious. But if it is, Blake is going to be back soon," Redick added, referring to Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who has missed the past month with a right knee injury. "Next guy up, I guess. But we've kind of dealt with this quite a bit lately. We'll just continue to plug away."

The nine-time All-Star sprained the same thumb during a practice late in the preseason.

The last time Paul sprained his left thumb in the season was during the first round of the 2014 playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers won the series in seven games.

Paul broke his right hand in Game 4 of the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2016 playoffs.

The Clippers have been beset by injuries this season. Griffin missed his 13th game Monday night as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. Redick missed two games due to a sore left hamstring. And Paul missed seven games in a two-week span due to a strained left hamstring.

Paul exited with eight points, six assists, three rebounds and a steal against the Thunder. The Clippers point guard is averaging 17.7 points, 9.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game with a 60.9 percent true shooting percentage and a player efficiency rating of 27.47.

Information from ESPN's Jovan Buha was used in this report.

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