Though the Phoenix Suns rolled into the Western Conference finals, they could start the series without their leader.
Suns point guard Chris Paul will be sidelined for an indefinite period of time as he enters the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person request anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
Paul, 36, has been a standout for Phoenix this season and in the playoffs, averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds in the postseason. He had 37 points and seven assists in the Game 4 sweep against Denver.
It is unclear if Paul is vaccinated against COVID-19 or if he tested positive for the virus or was merely a close contact of an infected person, but a potential isolation period could be shorter for a vaccinated person.
“We’ll address that when it comes as far as a union and players,” Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, said of vaccines in December. “But when it comes to all different types of vaccines, a lot of that stuff is personal.”
The Suns swept the Denver Nuggets and await the winner of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz series, which is tied at 2-2.
If the Clippers-Jazz series ends in six games, the Western Conference finals will begin on Sunday. If the series goes to a Game 7, the conference finals will begin Tuesday.
The Athletic first reported the Paul news.