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Warriors' Chris Paul returns vs. Wizards after missing 21 games with broken hand

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Paul returned for the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards after missing 21 games with a broken left hand that required surgery.

Coach Steve Kerr said there was no minutes restriction for the 38-year-old point guard. Kerr said he expected Paul to resume his previous role leading the Warriors' second unit.

“If you look at the first couple months of the season, Chris was in all our best lineups and one of our most efficient players,” Kerr said.

The Warriors, however, have been playing their best basketball of the season without Paul, winning 10 of their past 13 games. They struggled earlier in the season when Draymond Green was suspended for a blow to the face of Phoenix's Jusuf Nurkic, a ban that ultimately lasted 12 games. Paul was hurt on Jan. 5 and Green returned on Jan. 15.

“I think this is a really good situation for us to be in where we’ve found some continuity with our starting group,” Kerr said. “Chris has anchored that second unit all season long. If we can put those things together, we have a chance to really be a good team for 48 minutes.”

Golden State entered Tuesday in 10th place in the Western Conference. The Warriors have gone 5-1 since Jan. 30 in games where veteran Klay Thompson has come off the bench.

Paul's return came against the team that traded him to Golden State. Paul never played for the Wizards, who acquired him last summer from Phoenix for Bradley Beal, then flipped him to the Warriors for a package headlined by Jordan Poole.

Andrew Wiggins was ruled out Tuesday for personal reasons. He has averaged 15.3 points over the past nine games, but his overall scoring average (12.7 points) is the lowest of his 10-year career.

“We'll just respect, obviously, respect Andrew's wishes for this to remain just private and personal reasons,” Kerr said, “and we'll just go from there.”

Moses Moody started in Wiggins' place Tuesday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Ben Nuckols, The Associated Press