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Chris Paul indefinitely sidelined from NBA playoffs as part of the league’s Covid-19 protocols

By Wayne Sterling and Jacob Lev, CNN

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul has been sidelined following his placement on the league’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols, the team announced on Wednesday.

Suns head coach Monty Williams said the team will approach Paul’s circumstance like they previously have with other players who have entered the league’s Covid-19 protocols this season.

“It’s like anything else, when we’ve had guys in the past who had it or been in that situation, where you got to go into protocols.” Williams said while talking to the media on Wednesday. “There’s a natural concern for the person and that’s basically where it ends. The league is trying to do everything they can to keep individuals and teams safe and it’s just a natural concern for an individual.”

The All-NBA guard is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 10 playoff games this postseason, leading the Suns to an 8-2 playoff record which included eliminating the defending NBA champions, Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

The National Basketball Players Association, of which Paul is the president, releases Covid-19 test results weekly. The NBPA said Wednesday that of the 164 players tested for Covid-19 since June 9, “one new player has returned a confirmed positive test.”

“Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test, or has been identified as having been in close contact to an infected person, is isolated or quarantined until they are cleared under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance,” the NBPA said.

Williams declined to answer if Paul was fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and if any players would be considered close contacts, but did say that the team practiced yesterday and had a “good” practice today.

“We had a really good practice today, got up and down, guys got a real good sweat. They are actually still out there on the floor. Nothing has changed for us,” Williams said.

The Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday and await the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz series for a chance to advance to the NBA Finals.

The NBA has not announced the final dates for the Western Conference finals, but Williams is not yet thinking about if Paul will available or not for Game 1.

“I’m not even going to go there until I have to, so there’s no reason for me to be pessimistic at all,” Williams said. “We just have to wait and see what’s going to happen.”

The next update on Paul will be provided on Saturday, the team said.

Williams added, “My faith isn’t going to waver now because we’ve had a few obstacles. We’ve had obstacles all season long and we’ve gotten through a lot of stuff. You look forward to these challenges, you embrace them, and you move forward.”

CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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