Chris Paul out another game for Clips

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul sat out Tuesday night's 109-97 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a bruised right

It is the fourth game Paul has missed this season with the injury after returning to start the past two games against Washington and Golden State.

"He was feeling better and then we got him through the Washington game and afterwards he was a little bit sore, which he expected," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "And then he played last night but he wasn't really getting any better. You could kind of see him dragging it out there. But he tried to play through it. Chris is a tough guy. He's a competitor. He wants to be out there, but we have to look at the big picture. We have to kind of protect Chris as well and just give him a little bit of rest."

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, who will start Tuesday, started three games in place of Paul as the Clippers went 3-0 on their road trip without him and won their games by an average of 14.6 points.

Del Negro said there is no timetable for Paul's return and said Paul would get some X-rays on Wednesday to be reevaluated, but didn't think Paul returning for two games made his injury worse.

"It wasn't made worse," Del Negro said. "It's a pain tolerance thing. It's a bruise on your kneecap and you have to be able to run and move and cut and jump and do things and it's going to be sore for a while. He's just go to work through it and we'll get him a lot of therapy and when he's ready, he'll be ready."