Paul George to participate in first 5-on-5 practice with Clippers this weekend
LOS ANGELES – Paul George is going to participate in his first five-on-five practice with the L.A. Clippers this weekend, with an on his Clippers debut in a game later next week.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski joined SportsCenter prior to the Bucks-Clippers game, where he said Leonard would participate in practice this Saturday and go from there.
“Paul George has ramped up his workout regimen,” said Wojnarowski. “He’s going to play five-on-five for the first time I’m told on Saturday with the clippers and then he’ll see where he is. They gonna talk with Paul George, his agent Aaron Mintz, and the Clippers, and they’re gonna start to discuss which game George will be ready to return to the lineup, but his return is not far off. We’ll know more after he works out 5 on 5 and see how he feels this weekend.”
For weeks, head coach Doc Rivers has stated that the Clippers are trying to get through ‘the first ten games’ without George, implying that he would return in the first half of the team’s upcoming back-to-back against the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans. Rivers has never answered any questions on how long George will be out, leaving question marks around his return date.
According to a person with knowledge of the team’s plan for George, the team had been eyeing a return to the lineup for George either on November 13th against the Rockets or November 14th against the New Orleans Pelicans, with the plan for him to sit out the other night in the back-to-back. If George plays in the first game, the plan would also mean that Kawhi Leonard would sit out the first game and instead play against the Pelicans. Essentially, the Clippers would stagger both George and Leonard as they work their way back from offseason injuries. That’s if George is deemed ready to go by Wednesday.
This news of the planned return date for George was first reported by The Athletic’s Sam Amick, and ClutchPoints has learned of the same plan.
The team held out slim optimism that George could return for the home game against the Toronto Raptors, but it’s unlikely at the moment. The team could also determine to hold George off until the team returns home to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon, but the plan as of now is a likely return against the Rockets. The team will likely limit George as he works his way back into game shape.
Following the Rockets-Pelicans back-to-back set, the Clippers will have 10 more back-to-backs throughout the season.
George, a third place finalist for the 2018-19 MVP award, averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.2 steals, and 3.8 three-pointers per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season.