Hornets' Paul out indefinitely with knee injury


New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, left, drives on Portland Trail Blazers guard Jerryd Bayless during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. Paul scored 24 points and sank the game winning basket to beat the Blazers 98-97. In the background are Hornets forward David West, left, and Blazers center Juwan Howard.

The Associated Press
Published: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS — Hornets' All-Star point guard Chris Paul is out indefinitely with a left knee injury that will likely require surgery.

An MRI revealed more damage to the knee than the initial diagnosis of a bruise, Hornets coach Jeff Bower said on Monday. The coach refused, however, to confirm reports that Paul had a meniscus tear and would miss at least a month.

"We're in fact-finding stages right now, gathering as much information as possible for decisions to be made to take the next steps," Bower said. "It is likely there will be a surgical solution for it. We don't have a timetable (for Paul's return) right now, nor do we know a surgical procedure right now."

Paul watched the Hornets' shootaround on Monday but was unavailable to reporters.

He first hurt his knee in a game at Golden State on Wednesday. He struck the same spot against a camera when he went out of bounds near the end of regulation against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

He missed the Hornets' game at Memphis on Saturday.

Yahoo! Sports, citing unidentified sources close to Paul, reported that test results showed a partially torn meniscus and that he would miss one to two months.

Paul, who sat out eight games earlier this year with a sprained ankle, was averaging a team-high 20.4 points and an NBA-best 11.2 assists. He was the runner-up to the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant for league MVP in 2007-08 and finished fifth last season.

Rookie Darren Collison, averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 assists, will start in Paul's place. Collison handed out a Hornets rookie-record 18 assists and scored 17 points on Saturday when New Orleans ended Memphis' 11-game home winning streak with a 113-111 overtime victory.

After starting slowly, the Hornets have won 13 of their last 17 games and were tied for the eighth spot in the Western Conference entering Monday night's home game against Phoenix.

In nine games as a starter, Collison was averaging 15.1 points and 7.7 assists.

"It's nothing I haven't seen before," Collison said. "We've been jelling with Chris, and without him I don't think it's going to stop us."

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