Paul returns to Clippers' lineup after left thumb injury

LOS ANGELES (AP) Chris Paul is back in the Los Angeles Clippers' lineup after missing five weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

The star point guard was set to play Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs, the second-place team in the West.

Paul had been out since Jan. 16 after injuring his thumb and having surgery two days later. He returned slightly ahead of the original timetable of six to eight weeks.

Paul's return means Austin Rivers will go back to the bench. Paul leads the NBA in steals per game at 2.25.

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