No Need to Rush George’s Return to the Court

Indiana Pacers’ star guard has been eyeing a return to the court after running into a basketball stanchion during a U.S. national team scrimmage Aug. 1 in Las Vegas. Within hours of the injury, George had surgery and was expected to miss the entire season.

George returned to full practice in late February and has participated in pregame warm-ups and post-practice shooting drills.

The Pacers are currently tied for ninth in the eastern conference with a 30-39 record and could use George’s presence in the lineup to secure a playoff spot. However, I see no need to rush the 24 year old back onto the court before he is ready.paul george

The NBA has some of the most freakish athletes on the planet and George could get injured trying to guard some of these players. Before his injury, Paul’s game had blossomed to being one of the premier players in the league. Yet, his injury was so nasty with his leg snapping at a 90 degree angle that there was talk he might not ever play again which begs the question, “Is a playoff spot that important that the Pacers are willing to jeopardize George’s career by rushing him back too soon?”

Pacers’ president of basketball operations Larry Bird will have the final say when George returns, but he will consult with the medical team and coaching staff when making that determination.

Bird did have  this to say about George’s impending return.

“He’s getting a lot better. I think he’s gotta go through a series of tests this week, just like we’ve always been doing to see where he’s at,” Bird said. “I think he’s cleared by the doctors to play, but obviously, he’s not in shape. Just because he’s cleared to play doesn’t mean he’s in shape to play. And I don’t want Paul to go out there until he feels comfortable with his conditioning and the way he’s practicing. I’d like to see him do a little bit better.”

There is also the question of  team chemistry with George returning. Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel has a rotation going. Despite the Pacers dropping their last five games after starting 9-2 after the all-star break, finding minutes for George in the remaining 13 games could hurt the rapport of certain lineups used by Vogel.

If George comes back at all this season, he should receive limited minutes until he proves in practice he can handle the ponding of playing crucial NBA minutes just seven and a half months after his broken leg. The Pacers would be making a huge mistake bringing George back too soon in hopes of helping in their quest to make the playoffs.

And that’s… as I see it!

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