Indiana's two-time All-Star told reporters that he's much closer to playing now than when he returned to full practices two weeks ago, his most strenuous work since running into a basket stanchion and gruesomely snapping his right leg in two places Aug. 1 in Las Vegas.
"The Paul George today blows away the Paul George from then," he said. "The reason the Paul George now would blow out the Paul George of two or three weeks ago is because I can move a lot better."
But that doesn't mean he's in playing shape yet.
George targeted mid-March as a possible return date and even suggested Saturday's home game against Boston or Monday's home game against Toronto would be ideal. That's not going to happen.
There's no reason for the
Some fans around Indianapolis contend the Pacers are actually playing better now, without George, than they were at this time last year. Indiana wound up losing in the Eastern Conference finals for the second consecutive season. George doesn't want to do anything that would mess up the chemistry or rotation -- something that could threaten his hopes of a return this season.
"I think if it gets to the point that these guys are in the playoffs and we're talking about coming back, we might as well let these guys finish that out," George said.
The incident occurred with 1:15 left in the Trail Blazers' 118-99 home victory Friday night. Williams sat out Saturday night in Utah, and Freeland will serve his suspension Sunday in Toronto.
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