Chris Paul missing 17 games before scheduled return to Rockets lineup

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If the Rockets are surging because of James Harden's hot scoring streak, imagine Houston's level of play when Chris Paul is re-inserted in the lineup.

The so-called "Point God" is preparing for his return on Sunday when Houston hosts the Orlando Magic. ABC13 Sports Director Greg Bailey reports Friday that Paul has been playing three-on-three games in practice to prepare for playing about 30 minutes on the floor.

The 33-year-old went down with a strained right hamstring on Dec. 20 while taking contact in the open court vs. Miami.

Since then, the Rockets went 11-6 during that stretch, kept entirely afloat by James Harden's offensive dominance that has seen the reigning MVP score 30 points or more in 21 straight games. Harden and the Rockets could improve to 12-6 without Paul when they take on the Raptors on Friday.

By the time of the Orlando matchup, Paul will have missed 17 games over 37 days.

Houston is also dealing with Clint Capela's absence after he injured his thumb against the same Orlando team on Jan. 13. Houston is 3-2 this season without Capela and Paul in the lineup.

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