Chris Paul Practices, Could Return From Ankle Injury As Soon As Friday

After missing three weeks due to a severely-sprained ankle, Chris Paul practiced Thursday and could return to action as soon as Friday.

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Paul Returns To Hornets, Posts 16 Points, 15 Assists Vs. Timberwolves

For more, check out SB Nation’s Hornets blog, At The Hive, and our Timberwolves blog, Canis Hoopus.

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) – Devin Brown scored 19 points and Emeka Okafor added 17 points and 13 rebounds, as the Hornets claimed a 98-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Arena.

David West finished with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Chris Paul returned to the lineup after missing the last eight games with a sprained left ankle and chipped in with 16 points, a game-high 15 assists and eight steals for the Hornets, who had dropped three of four games coming in.

“In the first half, I couldn’t make a shot,” Paul said. “I was going on adrenaline. I got here early for the game and got a nice workout. I was nervous, not knowing if I was going to be able to finish.”

Al Jefferson finished with a game-best 20 points to go along with 14 boards, while Ryan Gomes went for 15 points for Minnesota, which dropped to 1-8 on the road this season and are 2-17 overall in the early going.

“He’s a very talented ball player,” Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis said about Paul. “He does a good job of giving that team confidence. He just sliced us apart in the second half. He got a feel for the game. You could see him getting some confidence and his rhythm.”

Forward Kevin Love, who hadn’t played since fracturing his left hand in preseason action, made his season debut and contributed 11 points and as many rebounds off the bench.

Minnesota had a 22-20 lead after the opening quarter, then stretched its advantage to 49-38 after a Jefferson putback dunk with just over a minute left in the half.

The Hornets closed on a strong note as Okafor hit a jumper to start a 9-0 run. Paul was then fouled from beyond the arc prior to the first half buzzer and made all three at the line to draw New Orleans to within 49-47 at the break.

In the third quarter and the game deadlocked at 63, West’s jumper ignited a 7-0 run by the Hornets and they would be ahead 75-65 after Brown’s layup at the buzzer.

New Orleans wouldn’t relinquish the lead in the fourth quarter despite the Timberwolves getting to within five, 87-82, following Love’s trey with nearly 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

New Orleans took two of three meetings with Minnesota a year ago and has won eight of the past 10 matchups in the series. The T’Wolves are winless in their last four trips to the Big Easy.

- Via Sports Network.

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Paul Returns To Practice, Could Play As Early As Friday

Chris Paul is one tough hombre. Three weeks after severely spraining his ankle, Paul was back at practice yesterday and could play as early as Friday, according to Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Paul clearly sounds like he wants to play, but he also admitted that he didn’t want to hurt the team by coming back when he wasn’t fully healed.

“I haven’t even gotten a chance to talk with the trainers and stuff, " Paul said. “But if they don’t think I’m favoring it or anything like that, hopefully I can play. Like I said, it was my first time, my first time playing five-on-five and doing any of the sets. It’s definitely not 100 percent. We’re going to see. I don’t want to hurt the team. That’s my thing. I just want to be out on the court when I can be effective. If that means sitting out another game, then that’s what I have to do.”

In Paul’s absence, the Hornets have gone 4-4. Rookie Darren Collison, Paul’s replacement, upped his game significantly while Paul was injured, so it’ll be interesting to see what effect Paul’s return has on Collison’s minutes.

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Hornets Say Chris Paul Is Out 'Indefinitely'

And the news gets even worse for Hornets fans.  Via Marc Stein on Twitter.

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What could "indefinitely" possibly mean?  As a Wizards fan, I tend to prepare for the worst, but we'll have to see.  This certainly doesn't sound good for a team with a lot of issues right now.

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Wojnarowski: Paul Expected To Miss At Least One Week

From Adrian Wojnarowski’s Twitter:

Hornets Chris Paul is expected to miss 1-2 weeks with a left ankle sprain, league source tells Y! Sports. “For sure one week,” source says.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, they can’t afford to play without their superstar for any length of time. The team is off to a 3-7 start and is led by a coaching staff that still appears to be figuring the team out. By the time Paul returns to the team, they could be in a much deeper hole.

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