LA Clippers star forward Paul George appears to be inching closer toward a potential return.
On Dec. 25, the team announced that George had sustained an elbow injury that would be re-evaluated in three to four weeks. George missed five games with an elbow injury earlier in the month and has been sidelined since returning for two games.
On Jan. 18, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that George would remain on the sidelines for a few more weeks as the team evaluated how the injury responded to rest.
Plan continues to be to evaluate how Paul George’s right elbow responds to rest over next few weeks, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/kqTv35syqO
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 18, 2022
This season, George is averaging 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists for the Clippers.
What’s next for George? Here’s what we know about his injury and his potential return to the court.
What is Paul George’s injury?
Per the Clippers, George suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow.
The Clippers say Paul George will be reevaluated in 3-4 weeks because of an elbow injury. pic.twitter.com/kBcrfrvaly
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) December 25, 2021
According to The Athletic, George’s issues with his right elbow date back to the 2018 offseason.
How long will Paul George be out?
George has been sidelined since Dec. 25. Injury analyst Jeff Stotts reports that in the NBA, UCL sprains have typically held players out for roughly 28 days or 13 games of action.
He had already been sidelined for two weeks in December but it is unclear whether or not his return to action made the injury worse.
UPDATE (Feb. 3, 2022): George is expected to undergo an MRI on his right elbow on Feb. 24. According to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, it might help the team find out whether the seven-time All-Star will play again this season.
UPDATE (Feb. 16, 2022): Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that if George’s MRI on Feb. 24 comes back clean, the expectation is that he will go through a two-week ramp-up period, potentially clearing the way for him to return in the second week of March.
“Paul George who has been sidelines for almost 2 months. on Feb. 24th. If all is clean, sources told me they expect the start to go through a 2-week ramp up period. If there are no setbacks, George could return as soon as 2nd week of March.”
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 16, 2022
UPDATE (Feb. 25, 2022): George’s elbow is “feeling better,” but Clippers head coach Ty Lue said that he will “need more time” to recover, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. While George is said to be progressing, it’s still unknown if he will return this season.
UPDATE (March 25, 2022): George participated in his first practice with the Clippers since December, hoping to make a return for the postseason, according to ESPN’s Youngmisuk. He was cleared for practice after participating in some 4-on-4 drills on Sunday.
UPDATE (March 28, 2022): George has gone through at least one 5-on-5 practice with the Clippers, who are monitoring his response to practicing in order to gauge whether or not he could play this week, according to Youngmisuk.
“He is doing good,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said ahead of George’s first practice on March 25, according to Youngmisuk. “He hasn’t felt any pain so that is a positive thing. Just working on his conditioning and just making sure he can continue to go through the minimal contact without having any issue. So as of right now, it hasn’t been a problem.”
Lue added he hopes George would be able to return for at least one regular season game before jumping right into the postseason, but there is still no set date for his return.
Clippers upcoming schedule 2021-22
The Clippers have seven games remaining this season, giving George a small window of time for a return before the playoffs. You can find their remaining schedule below.
|March 29||vs. Jazz||10:00 PM|
|March 31||at Bulls||8:00 PM|
|April 1||at Bucks||8:00 PM|
|April 3||vs. Pelicans||9:30 PM|
|April 6||vs. Suns||10:00 PM|
|April 9||vs. Kings||TBD|
|April 10||vs. Thunder||TBD|