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Return of Chris Paul to Clippers' lineup is up in the air

There is no timetable for how soon the injured point guard might be able to play again, Coach Vinny Del Negro says.

January 28, 2013|By Jim Peltz, Los Angeles Times

There still is no set date for the return of injured Clippers point guard Chris Paul, Coach Vinny Del Negro said Sunday.

"Day to day, no timetable," Del Negro said of Paul, the team's star playmaker who is out because of a bruised right kneecap.

"With a bone bruise it's just a matter of letting it calm down," and then the Clippers have to wait "until he gets out on the court [in practice] and see how he reacts," Del Negro said.

In the meantime, "it's a matter of when [head trainer] Jasen [Powell] gives him the OK to get out there and start working," Del Negro said.

Paul, 27, sat out his fourth consecutive game Sunday and seventh overall because of the bruise.

In the 39 games he has played, Paul averaged 16.6 points, nearly 10 assists and more than two steals per game.

Eric Bledsoe, 23, largely has assumed Paul's point-guard duties and "we have confidence, the whole team does, in Eric," Del Negro said. "He just has to be more consistent. No one can fill Chris Paul's shoes, that's a difficult thing."

Chauncey Billups has good workout

Chauncey Billups, battling tendinitis in his left foot, "had a really good workout" Sunday that included running "up and down the court," but the veteran guard's return also remained unknown, Del Negro said.

"There's really no timetable," Del Negro said, adding that it would depend on how Billups' foot reacts when the five-time All-Star begins practice that includes physical contact.

Going on a long trip

The Clippers hit the road for their longest trip of the season, an eight-city tour that starts in Minnesota on Wednesday.

That's followed by games in Toronto, Boston, Washington, Orlando, Miami, New York and finally Philadelphia on Feb. 11. The Clippers return to Staples Center to play the Houston Rockets on Feb. 13.

Only two of the eight teams the Clippers face on the trip have winning records: the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.

The Clippers left on the trip with a road record of 13-8.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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