Source: Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul to miss 6-8 weeks with right thumb injury

CLEVELAND -- Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul will be out for the next six to eight weeks because of an avulsion fracture in his right thumb, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The injury is a massive blow to a Suns team with the league's best record, and knocks the All-Star floor general out for at least the vast majority of the remaining regular-season schedule.

The regular season ends seven weeks from Sunday, on April 10. The playoffs begin on April 16.

"We've dealt with a lot already this year," Suns coach Monty Williams, who helped coach Team LeBron to a victory on Sunday night, said after the game. "We've lost multiple guys due to injury this year, and we've had things outside of basketball invade, so to think you're going to go through an NBA season and not have adversity, it's silly.

"You hate it, but you're prepared for it. This is different, because it's Chris. But with that in mind, it's also an opportunity to strengthen our team and give other guys confidence in certain areas, and when he does come back, I think we'll be that much better."

Paul, who is averaging 14.9 points and a league-leading 10.7 assists for the 48-win Suns, hurt his thumb during the third quarter of Wednesday's win over the visiting Houston Rockets. He was ejected for picking up a pair of technical fouls immediately after the play happened and was seen grabbing at his hand as he exited the court.

Paul came off the bench for Team LeBron on Sunday night less than an hour after the news of his injury first broke. He checked into the game for DeMar DeRozan with 3:49 to go in the first quarter. Paul was guarding his Suns teammate, Devin Booker, who half-heartedly tried to get him to fall for his own move -- the rip-through to draw a foul -- before firing up a missed jumper.

Paul, who was wearing a wrap on his right hand, had one shot at an assist, passing the ball to Jimmy Butler -- who missed a corner 3-pointer. Then he drove down the lane for a left-handed layup that he missed.

Afterward, Paul -- true to form -- swiped at the ball with his left hand after Rudy Gobert grabbed the rebound of his miss, and got called for a foul. The game then went into a timeout, and when play resumed, Paul found himself back on the bench.

"He wanted to get out there and we got him a minute or two and then after that we had already planned that, so he could play," Williams said, in explaining why Paul played Sunday night. "So we're just gonna take it day by day, and see how he heals up as we go forward.

"But again, I'm just grateful to have him in the locker room. I was talking to him about practice minutes, I've never done this before. So Chris was huge for me. Just giving me his experience and wisdom. I wish he could've played because you know how competitive Chris is. It's unfortunate, but it's going to help us going forward."

During his media availability Saturday, Paul was asked several questions about his injury. While he did his best to evade them, he admitted it was frustrating.

"We're 48-10, and if we do miss some time, I know the guys are going to hold it down," Paul said. "There's always going to be a frustration with injury. My hand surgeon is part of my family now.

"I always want to play. When I felt that in my hand, I was mad for all types of reasons," Paul added. "Obviously, we're not going to [rush it]. I'm going to try to heal as fast as physically possible. The second I'm able to play, I guarantee you I will be playing."

Phoenix is 6½ games ahead of the Golden State Warriors and eight games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the best record in the Western Conference -- and the NBA -- with 24 games to go in the regular season. The Suns entered the All-Star break having won 21 of their previous 24 contests.

Williams said the Suns are already working on contingency plans for how they'll manage without Paul, saying he and his coaching staff spent time this weekend preparing for the final few weeks of the regular season.

And Devin Booker tried to look at the bright side of things, saying that the 36-year-old will be well rested when the playoffs begin thanks to spending so much time on the sidelines.

"We have to figure it out," Booker said. "Everybody has to give a little bit more. I look at the beauty in it. He gets to rest his legs. He gets to get ready for a long postseason that we're trying to make happen. So we got to hold it down without him. We got to hold the fort down. I'm sure Coach is already coming up with some game plans and schemes to make it work without him out there."

TNT first reported the news of Paul's injury.