Warriors’ Chris Paul (fractured hand) to return vs. Wizards after missing 21 games

Golden State Warriors Chris Paul (fractured hand) to return vs Wizards after missing 21 games

Golden State Warriors guard Chris Paul (fractured left hand) was upgraded to available on the injury report and is slated to return to the lineup for Tuesday’s road game against the Washington Wizards.

Paul, 38, has been out since Jan. 5 due to a fractured left hand. The 12-time All-Star has missed the last 21 games. Over that stretch, Golden State went 12-9 without the 6-foot guard.

It was initially reported that he would remain out for 4-6 weeks. Paul fractured his left hand in a 113-109 win over the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 5. He underwent surgery three days later.

Paul was cleared for light workouts on Jan. 30.

The 19-year veteran missed a 3-pointer with 6:08 left in the third quarter and moved to grab the long rebound when he made contact with Detroit’s Jaden Ivey.

“I feel for him but at the same time it’s next man up,” rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis said after the victory. “Chris never loses his voice and so being on the bench, being able to talk to us, that’s one of his biggest attributes. That’s something that he won’t lose. He’ll still be invested in the game.”

Golden State Warriors guard Chris Paul scored a season-high 24 points vs. Dallas Mavericks

Following Golden State’s 119-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, two-time MVP Stephen Curry was asked how the Dubs have managed to stay afloat during Paul’s absence.

“We’ve built some momentum since he’s been out,” Curry said about his teammate. “But he’s such a connector, floor general, and a guy that gets everybody in the right spot.

“So, when I’m on the bench or the rotations when we’re on the court at the same time, it will hopefully elevate us to another level when he gets comfortable and gets his legs underneath him. That, on top of how we’ve been playing, outside of tonight, hopefully that will allow us to keep building.”

Through 32 games (11 starts) this season, Paul is averaging career lows of 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 27.6 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 42.4% from the field and 36.1% beyond the arc.

In Golden State’s 132-122 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 30, Paul recorded a season-high 24 points, two rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block in 33 minutes as a starter.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr moved Paul to the second unit earlier this season. Golden State is 13-9 in games with the Wake Forest product coming off the bench.

The Warriors (29-27) are 10th in the Western Conference standings.

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