Hornets' Paul leaves game with ankle injury

SEATTLE -- New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul will miss at
least two games and as many as four after spraining his right ankle
during Tuesday night's loss to the Seattle SuperSonics.

"We've got to re-evaluate the next couple days and see if the
swelling goes down," Hornets coach Byron Scott said on Tuesday night. "That's main
thing we've got to be concerned about right now.

"For sure he's out tomorrow [at Portland]. And he'll probably
be out the Denver game [Friday in Oklahoma City] as well."

Scott said the most likely return for Paul, last season's rookie
of the year, would be against Golden State on Jan. 2 at home. New
Orleans plays Saturday at Dallas.

Paul turned the ankle while landing his foot onto the left foot
of Seattle center Johan Petro in the open floor on a Hornets fast
break with 1:18 left in the first quarter. Paul hopped through the
lane and then collapsed beyond the baseline while screaming
"Ohhh!" repeatedly and grabbing his ankle.

He then rolled around on his back in pain as play continued
momentarily. Once play stopped, the entire Hornets roster and
coaching staff rushed to surround Paul in a semicircle while
trainers attended to him.

After a few moments on his back, Paul was carried directly into
the nearby visitors' locker room by teammate Tyson Chandler. X-rays
were negative.

Paul was seen 20 minutes after the game gingerly walking on
crutches out of the arena to the team bus. He did not talk to the

Paul entered as the Hornets' leader with 18.9 points and nine
assists per game. He had 13 double-doubles on the season, five in
his last seven games. He scored six points and had seven assists in
his 11 minutes Tuesday.

"There's never a best-case scenario with C.P. being out,"
Scott said. "Him missing a [single] game is going to hurt us,
obviously. … We have to wait for a couple days and see how it is
and just go from there."

He averaged 16.1 points and 7.8 assists while winning rookie of
the year last season, then helped the United State to the bronze
medal in the world championships in Japan before this season.

The Hornets were already missing three of their top six players
to injuries: Bobby Jackson (cracked left rib), Peja Stojakovic
(back surgery) and David West (right elbow).

Scott likes to run a three-guard offense. But the Hornets now
have just two healthy, "true" guards on their roster.

Scott said Devin Brown, signed four games ago as a free agent,
will start next to Jannero Pargo while Paul is out. Pargo scored a
team-high 23 points in first start of the season on Tuesday.

"It's unbelievable," said sixth-year veteran Desmond Mason,
now the team's lone double-digit scorer at 12.1 points per game.

"This is the first time I've ever had this [on my team]."