Paul George went through practice with the Pacers on Thursday afternoon and proclaimed the experience, "a good day at practice" while updating reporters on his progress.
While practice went well, George seemed to waver a bit on his earlier proclamations that he would be ready to play a couple of weeks after starting to practice, a time period which is rapidly approaching next week. PG made sure to remind reporters that he didn't set a deadline, but expressed his hope for returning in mid-March. Still, as of now there is now date and as Frank Vogel mentioned on Wednesday, PG would still need to be cleared by the doctors to actually play.
But make no mistake, George expects to return and help give the Pacers a boost that will have them making noise in the playoffs. As he mentioned, aside from his leg, the rest of his body will be in great shape and fresh compared to his teammates.
He's also encouraged by how the rest of the team has come together now that they are healthy and have adjusted to the new faces in big roles in the playing rotation. I remain skeptical as to just how much PG will have to offer this season, but it is nearly impossible to not get excited about what might be, as PG talks about his goals for returning for the playoffs.
Before he can play, though, PG has to get over a couple of mental and physical hurdles.
- Still building confidence and strength in his leg. Termed it the last part of the whole process, "gaining the confidence and being able to push through when I'm cutting off my right leg."
- Next-day soreness is keeping PG in rehab mode and how he deals with the soreness going forward will impact his return date.
The beautiful thing about this situation is, barring an unexpected setback, we'll see Paul George playing this year and he will be joining a pretty good team in the East. Who says the 82-game schedule is too long?