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NBA playoffs: Suns' Chris Paul out indefinitely due to COVID-19 protocol

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul is out of the playoffs indefinitely due to the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul is out of the playoffs indefinitely due to the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

June 16 (UPI) -- The Phoenix Suns could enter the Western Conference Finals without Chris Paul, as the star guard landed in the NBA's health and safety protocol Monday and is out indefinitely.

Sources told The Athletic, ESPN and Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Wednesday that Paul entered the protocol. The 11-time All-Star helped lead the Suns to the Western Conference Finals with a four-game sweep of the Denver Nuggets last week.

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Paul, 36, averaged 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game and made a league-best 93.4% of his free throws in 70 starts this season. He joined the Suns in an off-season trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA is expected to release the Western Conference Finals schedule within the next few days. The Suns will face the Utah Jazz or Los Angeles Clippers. The Western Conference Semifinals series between the Jazz and Clippers is tied at 2-2.

Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, has not said if he is vaccinated. It is unknown if he tested positive or came into contact without someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

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The NBA does not require fully vaccinated individuals to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19, but has not announced specific rules for vaccinated players who test positive.

The Western Conference Finals could start as early as Sunday. Paul is averaging 15.7 points and 8.7 assists per game this postseason.

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