Paul to replace Collison in lineup

NEW ORLEANS -- Chris Paul has been placed in the starting lineup against the Dallas Mavericks.

Hornets spokesman Dennis Rogers says Paul will replace rookie Darren Collison as a starter in Monday night's game and Marcus Thornton will start at shooting guard.

Paul has missed the last 25 games since tearing the meniscus in his left knee in late January, an injury that required arthroscopic surgery. The Hornets have gone 8-17 during that stretch without him.

In 38 games, Paul has averaged 20.4 points and 11.2 assists this season. He was selected for his third-straight All-Star game, but did not participate because of his injury.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Sunday the Hornets were interested in seeing Paul play alongside the fast-blossoming Collison for the rest of the season.

Although numerous rival teams are hoping that Collison's fine fill-in work will eventually convince Hornets owner George Shinn to make Paul available in trades -- or perhaps make Collison available this offseason -- Hornets coach Jeff Bower has insisted for weeks that he thinks the two speedsters can coexist in the same backcourt.

"I see two guys that have the same makeup," Bower told ESPN.com in a recent interview. "They play the game with the same mentality. They measure everything they do based on winning and how the team is doing.

"I'm excited to see them together. I do think they can [function in the same backcourt]. Not the whole game, of course, but I think they can play together and Chris can be a dynamic scorer off the ball. And [rookie] Marcus Thornton can be a dynamic scorer with them."

Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.