Paul George to return to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday
Here is what George, who broke his right leg in a gruesome accident during a Team USA scrimmage in August, put on Instagram on Saturday morning:
George was initially projected to miss the entire 2014-15 season.
The Pacers play the Miami Heat on Easter, in a matchup that could very well decide each team’s playoff fate. If Miami falls to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday evening, the Pacers could enter that contest just a game in back of the Heat for the final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. If the Pacers prevail in George’s return, the team will have tied Miami for that eighth seed with Indiana holding the tiebreaker advantage.
The top seed in the East a year ago, the Pacers have struggled in George’s absence, working up a 33-43 record with six games left to play this season – all six presumably with George. Though the team did win 13 of 15 games at one point, the Pacers have lost nine of 12 since that run. George, a two-time All-Star, averaged 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last season.
George initially started practicing with the Pacers in February, after weeks of informal forays following actual team scrimmages. When Indiana (a team that was stuck at 15-30 at one point) began its turnaround, George admitted that he was wary of upsetting the team’s chemistry as the squad clawed its way back into the playoff picture, only committing to return to the Team USA’s summertime mini-camp.
In March, Pacers president Larry Bird told reporters that he wanted George to return late in the season, not so much to act as the swingman bulwark for his potential postseason outfit, but for the small forward’s own mental health as he deals with what will be a career-altering injury. NBA players don’t usually suffer broken legs while working on the court, and it remains to be seen as to whether George can return to his status as one of the NBA’s most athletic talents.
Pacers fans, currently, don’t mind. To them, only one thing matters right now:
— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) April 4, 2015