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Chris Paul returns to practice

Mar 10, 2011, 5:53 PM EDT

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According to the Associated Press, New Orleans guard Chris Paul is back at practice, but has not yet been cleared to play. Paul suffered a mild concussion last Sunday, and is scheduled to undergo a neurological exam on Friday.

Paul’s injury puts the Hornets in a tight spot. The dangers of playing with concussions are well-known now, and Paul is obviously extremely important to the Hornets’ long-term plan. On the other hand, the Hornets are currently in a brutal race for playoff positioning. Only a few games separate the Hornets, Nuggets, Blazers, and Grizzlies, so every game counts for New Orleans at this point in the season.

The Hornets were competitive against the Bulls and managed to pull off a miraculous comeback win against the Mavericks without Paul, but it would be foolish to assume that they can play at a high level without him for long. Paul has had an up-and-down season, but he is still one of the best point guards in the game and the Hornets’ franchise player.

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