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Paul George rusty, but showing positive signs

We knew it wasn’t going to be easy for Paul George coming back from that horrific leg injury. When you suffer that type of injury and miss so many games, you’re going to need some time to get your rhythm back. Although, the fact that George came back at all this year almost felt like a miracle in its own right considering how bad the injury looked. Any contributions he could make would be gravy.

Well, in two games, George has certainly been rusty. However, he has also shown some positive signs and made some rather significant contributions given the small amount of minutes played.

Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

In his return against the Miami Heat last Sunday, George scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 15 minutes in a 112-89 beat down victory. He came off the bench in the first quarter to rousing applause, and shortly later, he made his first basked on an awkward jumper. There were other moments of awkwardness, including several botched attempts from close, three fouls and three turnovers. But his outside jumper was pure, as he went 3-of-6 from downtown. He also racked up two rebounds, two assists and two steals.

In George’s second game back against the New York Knicks, he wasn’t quite as productive and he shot just 2-of-7 from the field in 16 minutes. However, he made up for the poor shooting by getting to the free throw line six times and making five of them. He made more contributions on defense again as well with two more steals, and the Pacers destroyed the Knicks, 102-86.

So again, nothing all that special for George, but he’s finding ways to make contributions in his limited minutes. He’ll continue to playing those limited minutes for the rest of the season, but perhaps that’ll come up if Indiana makes it to the postseason.

Oh, yeah, the playoffs?! At 35-43, the ninth-seeded Pacers are one game back of both the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets with all three teams having four games to play. The bad news is Indiana doesn’t have the tiebreaker against either of those teams. So to get in over them, the Pacers will have to have a better record.

Indiana’s next game is on Friday against the Detroit Pistons, who were just eliminated from playoff contention. That’s a very winnable game, but the final three come against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies. Not exactly the easiest stretch of games there when you’re fighting for your playoff life.

George will do what he can in his limited minutes to try and get the Pacers into the postseason. There’s only so much he can do, but based on what we’ve seen thus far, he can make an impact and potentially swing a game.



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