Paul misses fourth straight game

LOS ANGELES -– Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul will sit out Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers with a bruised right kneecap.

It's the fourth straight game and seventh overall Paul has missed this season with the injury. Before missing Tuesday's game against Oklahoma City, Paul started two straight versus Washington and Golden State after he missed the three games before that.

"He’s getting his therapy right now," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He’s not worse for sure. He’s feeling better but he hasn’t had any real court time. With the bone bruise it’s just a matter of letting it calm down and getting that therapy.”

When Del Negro was asked if Paul would return to the lineup next week, he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know until he gets on the court and we see how he reacts,” Del Negro said. “When he can get out there, I’m not even sure about that right now. It’s day-to-day and there’s no timetable.”

The five-time All-Star injured his knee with 54 seconds left in the Clippers' 104-101 loss to the Orlando Magic on Jan. 12 when he collided with Orlando guard J.J. Redick.

Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe has started six games in place of Paul, with the team going 3-3 during that time. The Clippers won three straight with Bledsoe starting before losing their past three.

“No one can fill Chris Paul’s shoes but Eric has had his moments,” Del Negro said. “He’s trying to get a feel for starter’s minutes and different play sets we run for the starters but we have confidence in Eric, the whole team does.”

Del Negro had some good news about the possible return of Chauncey Billups, who has been out with peroneal tendinitis in his left foot and has played only three games this season. Billups played three-on-three last week and could be nearing a return to the lineup soon.

"Chauncey had a really good workout this morning," Del Negro said. "He was up and down the court with contact and some things. Hopefully he'll be back to practice soon with five-on-zero and some non-contact stuff that we do in practice to see how he feels."