Rockets’ Paul could return from knee injury this week

Chris Paul is close to returning from his knee injury.

Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul has only played in one game this season due to a bruised left knee, but the nine-time All-Star is close to returning to the lineup after ramping up his workouts as of late.

Paul will go through an intense workout today and Wednesday while being closely monitored by the Rockets’ medical staff. If Paul gets through his workouts without experiencing pain or undergoing a setback, he could play Thursday when Houston takes on the Phoenix Suns on the road.

“We don’t want to push it,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told the Houston Chronicle. “If not Thursday, then we’ll see about Saturday. He worked out hard (Sunday.) We’ll see how he feels Tuesday and Wednesday. That (having Paul play on Thursday) is what we’re shooting for.”

Paul finished with four points (2-of-9), 10 assists and eight rebounds in the season opener versus the Golden State Warriors. He initially suffered the knee ailment in the preseason.

The Rockets enter today with a record of 11-3, good for first place in the rugged Western Conference.