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NBA Rumors: Chris Paul Expecting to Play in Clippers' Season Opener?

Will the Los Angeles Clippers have Chris Paul in the starting lineup when they face off against the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 30? They certainly hope so.

After having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb last month, Paul appears to be on track to return in time for the season opener – barring an unforeseen setback.

"Today was the first day they actually allowed me to shoot layups, so today was the best day ever," Paul told

"I hope I get a preseason game in before the season. I probably have to start off the season wearing a brace, but I get to wear the brace less and less. I wear it when I go to sleep, but I'm on track. I go to rehab every single morning at 6:30 a.m."

Last year, the Clippers finished 40-26 in the regular season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before ultimately falling to the San Antonio Spurs. Because of some key additions they made this summer and the experience they picked up over the course of last season’s run, many view this squad as one that could do serious damage in 2012-13.

Presuming everyone stays healthy, of course.

In the same interview, Paul offered up some words on Blake Griffin’s USA training camp injury.

"It was tough," Paul said.

"When Chauncey got injured in Orlando last season, I was in tears. I was in the locker room in tears just because I know how hard he works and how much he loves to play, and I also thought about the Olympics. And then when Blake got hurt, that really tore me down because I thought it was going to be pretty special to have a teammate there. This season we could have talked about playing in the Olympics, but everything happens for a reason, and I think Blake had an opportunity to rest up."

Ultimately injuries will make or break this group. On paper they have a fierce squad – no doubt about it. But it’s fierce so long as Paul and Griffin are on the floor. Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Matt Barnes won’t be evoking much fear if they’re the only ones out there on opening night.

(Kudos ESPN LA)

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