The long wait is nearing an end, it seems.?LA Clippers forward Paul George plans to make his season (and franchise) debut this week, most likely on?Thursday against the New Orleans Pelicans (8 ET, League Pass), per multiple reports.
ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk and the Los Angeles Times' Andrew Grief?report George seems to be leaning toward a Thursday debut. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes was the first to report that George is planning to make his season debut on Thursday.?
The six-time All-Star has been sidelined for the Clippers'?first 10 games while recovering from two offseason shoulder surgeries.?George?underwent rotator cuff surgery in May to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder, and a minor surgery in June to repair a partial tear of his left labrum. The Clippers traded for the perennial All-Star in July with the expectation he'd miss training camp and potentially the start of the season.
George had his first full practice with his Clippers teammates on Saturday and had no limitations during that workout. Per the Los Angeles Times, George scrimmaged with a team of reserves against a crew of starters led by Kawhi Leonard.?
“From a health standpoint, I feel great,” George said, per the newspaper. “But I think just rhythm, especially where these guys are at right now in their season, they’re flowing right now. So I just want to come in with an easy transition.
“I’m gonna play hard, make mistakes. It’s part of the game, but I plan on learning from that point on to where late in the season, I’m where I want to be.”
Last season, George averaged career highs of 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and a league-leading 2.2 steals.
“He’s going to be a big piece,” Kawhi Leonard said. “He’ll take a lot of attention. Then we’ll have to figure it out again.”
“Imagine having Kawhi and Lou (Williams) and Paul,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, “and a team tries to trap?you. You’re going to pretty much get what you want.”
While George may soon be back in the mix, guard Landry Shamet had an MRI on his left ankle on Tuesday. Per multiple reports, he was diagnosed with a grade 2 high ankle sprain and a timeline for his return is yet to be determined. He did play on Wednesday against Houston.
Leonard, who did not play in the first of the back-to-back sets in each of the past two weeks, also played in Wednesday's game.