Clippers star Paul George to return tonight against the Jazz

Clippers forward Paul George smiles as he sits on the bench.
Clippers star Paul George will play Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz at Arena.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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Sidelined since December, Paul George will officially return to the Clippers’ lineup Tuesday night.

Speaking before his team tipped off against the Utah Jazz at Arena, coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that George will play for the first time since Dec. 22. He will play a limited number of minutes.

“We’re not going to ride him too hard,” Lue said. “It’s going to be an adjustment period, but it’s going to be good to have him on the floor.”


George averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds. 5.5 assists and 4.2 turnovers in his first 26 games before injuring the ulnar collateral ligament in his right, shooting elbow. After resting for two weeks in December, he attempted a return, only to be held out of the lineup in what has become a 43-game absence.

The return follows a ramp-up period the last two weeks during which George — who was shooting solely with his left hand in early February — graduated from no-contact drills to four-on-four play with minimal contact to five-on-five play without restrictions. He practiced fully Sunday and Monday.

The Clippers have lost five in a row and the Jazz four straight. Getting George back provides a “huge” emotional boost for a team whose short-handed roster is beginning to wear down, Lue said.

The Clippers have converted 6-foot-8 wing Amir Coffey’s two-way contract to a standard deal, making the third-year player eligible for NBA postseason.

March 26, 2022

“I know he’s excited,” Lue said.

In addition to George’s return to the lineup, the Clippers are ramping up the minutes played by veterans Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum after each played under restrictions in recent weeks to keep them fresh before the postseason, which begins in mid-April.