Chris Paul's hamstring MRI negative

Updated: January 16, 2012, 7:38 AM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- An MRI on the strained left hamstring of Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul on Sunday came back negative, according to the team.

The Clippers said Paul, who suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of a 102-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, will be listed as day to day and is questionable for Monday's game against the New Jersey Nets.

"Chris is such a big part of what we do but you have to deal with it and other guys have to get ready to play," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said after practice Sunday. "We have some other guys banged up. It's just part of the job and part of the schedule; we just have to hopefully get as healthy as possible as quick as possible with all the games coming up."

The Clippers have Courtney Fortson lined up as a call-up from the D-League if they need added backcourt depth while Paul recovers, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein on Sunday.

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. Entering Sunday's play, 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.

The Clippers play their first back-to-back-to-back of the season next week, beginning with the Monday afternoon game against the Nets. The team will then fly to play the Utah Jazz on Tuesday before returning home to play the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

When Del Negro talked about Paul's injury after the game, he said, "Chris is a fighter. He's competitive. If he can get out there, he will, and we'll be smart about it because we have a lot of games still left."

Suddenly the Clippers, who began the season with an abundance of point guards in Paul, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe, could be without all but Billups next week.

Williams sat out of Saturday's game against the Lakers with an injured right foot and is still listed as day to day. Bledsoe, who has been recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, said he is still 2-3 weeks from returning to the lineup.

"(Mo) felt a little bit better today but he'll be reevaluated every day," Del Negro said. "Obviously we need him more than ever. Chauncey's back is a little tight. We have some nagging things going on and we have to work through it."

Veteran guard Randy Foye will start if both Paul and Williams are unable to play. Del Negro said Billups would likely start at point guard with Foye at shooting guard but Foye would also be forced to play some point guard as well.

"Randy could play point. It looks like he's going to have to right now," Del Negro said. "We went through some of the stuff we needed today and Chauncey and Randy will handle the point guard duties."

Foye played point guard during practice on Sunday, which is nothing new for the sixth-year guard who has played both positions during workouts.

"In practice, the whole time I play point anyway," Foye said. "In the game, then I switch over and I play two. I know all of the sets. I'm comfortable where if I had to play one, I could play one easily. Probably with some of the guys being out, it's looking like I'm going to have to play a lot of one."

Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein was used in this report.

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NBA HEADLINES