Monday, January 16, 2012
Updated: January 17, 9:55 AM ET
Chris Paul out against Nets
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul will not play in Monday's 101-91 win against the New Jersey Nets but will travel with the team to Utah and is listed as questionable for the Clippers' game Tuesday against the Jazz.
An MRI on Paul's strained left hamstring on Sunday came back negative, according to the team.
Veteran guard Mo Williams was also held out of his second straight game Monday with an injured right foot. Williams will also make the trip to Utah and is questionable for the next game. Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, who has been recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, said he is still 2-3 weeks from returning to the lineup.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said both Paul and Williams were feeling better Monday and didn't rule out the possibility they could both return this week but wanted to be cautious with them early in the season.
"We're going to protect out players; it's a long season," Del Negro said before Monday's game. "Of course we want them out there as soon as possible but we also have to look at the big picture."
With three point guards injured on the Clippers' roster, the team signed Courtney Fortson on Monday to add backcourt depth.
Fortson was with the Clippers in training camp and has since joined the D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders, who are owned by the Lakers. The 5-foot-11 point guard was averaging 15.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds for the D-Fenders in nearly 36 minutes per game.
"He can shoot the basketball and he's quick and he's tough," Del Negro said of Fortson. "He brought a lot of energy to camp and in our situation with so many point guards out we just felt he was the best guy for us right now. He knows our terminology and he knows what we're doing because he had been with us. We just felt like in this sort time frame getting a guy in here that knows what we're doing made more sense."
Chauncey Billups, who is dealing with a sore back, started at point guard with Paul out and Randy Foye started at shooting guard.
"It's going to be a little bit on the fly with rotations and matchups and foul trouble," Del Negro said. "We have a lot of bumps and bruises we have to manage."
Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.