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Chris Paul’s return is “close”

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Chris Paul could be back in the lineup this week.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets could get a critical part of their team back as soon as this week.

According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets’ veteran guard, Chris Paul, is eyeing a possible return into the lineup this Friday.

“If it’s not Friday, it’s Sunday” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “If it’s not Sunday, it’s Monday. But it’s close.”

The team doesn’t seem to be any rush to get Paul back on the court, though.

Paul, 33, has been out of the lineup since Dec. 20, when he left the game against the Heat in Miami with a left hamstring injury. Paul has had the intensity of his workouts increased steadily to prepare him for a return. He will undergo a physical test on Thursday to determine if and when he will be ready to play.

Houston will play host to the Eastern Conference’s wins leader, Toronto Raptors, on Friday.