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Clippers’ Paul George will have a soft minutes restriction on his return

Paul-George-Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George is making his season debut on Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans after missing the first 11 games.

George will face a soft minutes restriction in his return, according to head coach Doc Rivers:

The 29-year-old George underwent surgery in May to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The injury had hampered him at the end of the 2018-19 season, although George still managed to average 28.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in four playoff games with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

George pulled one of the heists of the decade this past summer. After the Indiana Pacers traded the Fresno State product to the Thunder in February of 2018, George agreed to re-sign with Oklahoma City, declaring that he was there to stay.

But that was before the Thunder suffered another first-round exit in the playoffs, and before Kawhi Leonard expressed an interest to team up with George in their hometown of Los Angeles. George formally requested a trade, and the Clippers sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a host of future draft considerations to the Thunder in exchange for the All-Star forward.

George is coming off the best season of his career. He posted career highs in scoring (28.0 points), rebounds (8.2) and assists (4.1) while leading the NBA in steals per game (2.2).

His return gives the Clippers an absurdly imposing defensive roster that also includes Leonard and Patrick Beverley, and he will immediately be inserted as the second scoring option. George also gives Los Angeles more depth when Leonard is forced to sit due to “load management.”

George has already gotten right up to speed against the Pelicans. He had 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting with six minutes remaining in the first half.