NBA news roundup: Chris Paul to return Sunday and more

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul is expected back Sunday, Ty Lawson suffered a left rib fracture and Larry Sanders gets elbowed in the eye.

Clippers guard Chris Paul will make his return to the Clippers lineup Sunday in Los Angeles against the Philadelphia 76ersaccording to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles.

Paul has missed the last 18 games with a separated right shoulder but, according to Markazi, he has been shooting and participating in contact drills for the last week. Clippers coach Doc Rivers will practice patience with his star.

"I think it's going to take Chris some time to get his rhythm back," Rivers said before practice. "That's why I am hoping he is healthy and we can play him Sunday, have a practice on Tuesday and play him Wednesday. I think that helps. I think it's going to take a couple weeks for him to get his rhythm back, no doubt."

The Clippers have registered a 12-6 record in Paul's absence. Blake Griffin scored 27.5 points per game in that 18-game stretch, an uptick of more than five points per content. His field goal percentage also increased from 52.5 to 55.4 and he got to the free throw line three more times a game.

Still, Paul's return upgrades the Clippers from a fun team to one with legitimate championship aspirations. Here's to hoping for full health for the rest of the season.

Ty Lawson suffered fractured rib Saturday

The Nuggets point guard was injured sometime in the second quarter and didn't play in the second half as his team got blown out in the second half in Detroit. The team announced shortly after that X-rays revealed a left rib fracture and he was doubtful for Denver's game against the Pacers Monday.

Lawson doesn't recall when exactly the injury happened, according to Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post, only that he performed a spin move and it hurt after that.

Lawson has been unarguably Denver's best and most consistent player. He's averaging a career-high 18 points and 8.8 assists per game on 43.4 percent shooting. His 19.9 PER is also the best of his career.

Larry Sanders exits game against Rockets with eye injury

The Bucks center contested for a rebound and was elbowed in the right eye by James Harden in the first quarter Saturday night. He did not return to the game after experiencing "blurred vision," according to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. In his absence Saturday, Dwight Howard had a field day, recording 27 points and 13 rebounds.

Without Ersan Ilyasova, who was already out with a back injury, the Bucks were left with a undermanned front line. Second year power forward John Henson ended up playing 41 minutes. (h/t: Charles F. Gardner, Journal Sentinel)

"I think we all pulled together," Henson said. "It's one of those things, but there's plenty of time for us (he and Sanders) to be back in the fold together.

"I'm just hoping he gets healthy enough and is fine in the long run. He got elbowed in the eye and he's got a black eye. It's painful. It happens."

More from SB Nation NBA:

NBA newsletter: Good morning, it's a shakeup in Cleveland

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Doug Eberhardt: Please don't retire, Steve Nash

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Flannery: How far can John Wall carry the Wizards?

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