HOUSTON — Houston Rockets star guard Chris Paul’s status for Monday’s Game 7 of the Western Conference finals will likely be a game-time decision, coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Paul missed the Rockets’ Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors due to the right hamstring strain he suffered in the final minutes of Houston’s Game 5 win.
“If I get the nod from the trainers, Chris and the doctors, then he’ll be ready to go,” D’Antoni said in a conference call Sunday evening. “Probably if any of those three disagree, he’s probably not going. So I think it’s a game-time decision, whatever it is, probably doubtful or however they listed it or questionable. They will eventually test it and see if there’s any possibility whatsoever.”
D’Antoni said Paul’s recovery is “going good” but acknowledged that the nine-time All-Star has not attempted to test the hamstring by running or working out since he was injured.
“He’s just been getting treatment and trying to make sure it calms down and everything,” D’Antoni said. “I would think the doctors and trainers are working on him 24 hours a day almost. They will tomorrow morning re-evaluate it again, probably tomorrow afternoon again.”
The Rockets went 15-9 without Paul during the regular season — 15-6 when probable MVP James Harden and blossoming star center Clint Capela both played — but were blown out by the Warriors in Game 6 despite building an early 17-point lead.
Paul, who advanced to the conference finals for the first time in his career in his first season with the Rockets, is averaging 21.1 points and 5.8 assists during these playoffs. He starred in Houston’s past two wins, averaging 23.5 points in those games and keying the Rockets’ comeback in the fourth quarter of Game 4.
D’Antoni said the Rockets would not attempt gamesmanship by keeping Paul’s status under wraps after a decision is made Monday.
“We’re not going to be coy with it,” D’Antoni said. “As soon as we know, we’ll say it, but we might not know until the afternoon [when we] see how it goes or he tests it out. But we’ll have to kind of play it by ear for now.”