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Sunday, January 22, 2012
Chris Paul sits against Toronto

By Arash Markazi
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul sat out Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors and was listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers as he continues to deal with a strained left hamstring.

Clippers forward Caron Butler, who missed Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a hyperextended right knee, returned to the starting lineup Sunday.

Paul worked out on the Staples Center court for an hour before the game, getting in shots with assistant coach Robert Pack, but Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said the team wanted to be cautious with Paul's return.

"We worked him out yesterday, he feels great but I think the smart, prudent thing to do right now is to give him a couple more days and a couple more work outs and a couple more practices," Del Negro said. "It will be good for him that way, instead of throwing him out there. His minutes will be limited either way. He's ready to go, but it's more the doctor and trainer and my decision to bring him along at the pace we're comfortable with."

Paul, who has missed five games since getting injured last Saturday against the Lakers, was hopeful to return to the starting lineup Sunday. But it now appears his first game back will be Wednesday's rematch with the Lakers.

"Chris is ready to play," Del Negro said. "He wants to be out there, but he also knows hasn't had this injury before and he wants to be smart about it and we'll hopefully get him back out here on Wednesday."

Follow Arash Markazi on Twitter: @ArashMarkazi.