Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups practice
By Arash Markazi
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clippers guards Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups went through practice and a full-contact scrimmage Tuesday heading into Wednesday night's preseason game against the Utah Jazz in Los Angeles.
Paul, who started his first exhibition game last week since having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb in August, will start Wednesday. Billups, who had season-ending surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon in February, will not play during the preseason but is still hoping to return sometime in November or December.
"It was exciting but I didn't get to play the fourth quarter even though I was itching to play," Paul said of his preseason debut. "Tomorrow is actually the first game that the doctors really cleared me to play. I begged them when I was overseas because a lot of my friends that have supported since I was a rookie were there and they let me play a few minutes but tomorrow is really the go date."
Paul played 22 minutes in the Clippers' 99-89 win over the Miami Heat in Shanghai last week. He had hoped to play one game in China as a gift to his Chinese fans but wasn't able to play as many minutes as he would have liked, finishing with 4 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
Billups didn't join the Clippers on their eight-day trip to China, instead staying back in Los Angeles to work out and rehabilitate his injury.
"I just used that time to continue to move forward as opposed to travel there and not play in the games," Billups said. "I thought it would have set me back so I used that time to spring forward a little and I think it helped."
Tuesday was the first day Billups was able to practice fully in contact drills without any restrictions and play in the backcourt again with Paul.
"I feel good. I feel really good," Billups said. "It will probably take me a little while to get my rhythm back. I haven't played since February. I feel good but I just need to take my time and get my rhythm back."