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Chris Paul leaves game with groin injury, status for Game 3 up in air

2023 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets

DENVER, CO - MAY 1: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball during Game Two of the Western Conference Semi-Finals of the 2023 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets on May 1, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns already have looked like the thinner roster through two losses to the Denver Nuggets, and things could be about to get worse.

Chris Paul injured his groin with less than five minutes to go in the Suns’ Game 2 and had to leave the game.

“Just looked like he was boxing out,” Suns coach Monty Williams said postgame. “He just came out where he couldn’t push off of it or anything. We’re not quite sure what it is right now, but it seems like something in the groin area.”

Paul did not speak to reporters after the game, where his long history of playoff injuries likely would have come up. His status for Game 3 is unknown, and while the good news for Phoenix is that game is not until Friday, groin injuries are tough to gauge and slow to heal.

Game 2 illustrated the depth issues the Suns have after gutting their roster to land Kevin Durant (a trade they had to make, but there were consequences) — the Suns were -14 in the 4:32 to close the game without CP3.

If Paul is out it will put even more on the plate of Devin Booker, who will take over the point guard role and be asked to do even more shot creation. Booker has filled that role in the past, but Denver isn’t going to fear Cameron Payne and whoever else gets Paul’s minutes.

The real hope for the Suns to bounce back in this series is for Booker and Durant to be otherworldly — they have been good, but not elite through two games. Durant scored 24 points in Game 2 but needed 27 shots to get there and Booker shot below 50%. Starting at home Friday in the Footprint Center, the Suns need their stars to be their peak selves to have any chance.

And they may have to do it without Chris Paul.