Early this season, Paul George was playing great basketball even without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup. As a result, the Los Angeles Clippers remained competitive in the West. But as fate would have it, PG13 would suffer a torn ACL in his right elbow, an injury that has kept him out for the last three months. The thing is, his recent return to the lineup looks like the All-Star never got hurt at all.

We take a look below at how the Clippers' star performed against the Utah Jazz and what it means for those Paul George cards in the market.

Paul George's strong return against the Jazz

Paul George, Clippers

A Clippers squad without Leonard in it only means one thing – George is the undisputed number one option on offense. After being roasted for his performance in the Bubble, the All-Star forward bounced back last season and proved his doubters wrong. That same momentum carried over as this current season started.

In the 26 games George played before getting injured, the All-Star notched 24.7 points per contest on 42/32/88 shooting splits. He also averaged 7.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2 steals in 35.5 minutes per game. And while these numbers seemed great, it was George's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in early November of last year that saw him dominate.

During that contest, the All-Star wing would post 32 points on 60% shooting from the field and 50% from beyond the arc while making 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in almost 36 minutes on the court. His effort led the Clippers to get a 126-115 win over the Timberwolves in their own home.

That's why it's no surprise that even without Leonard, Los Angeles was above the .500 mark when George got injured in late December of last year. Fortunately, the Clippers would hold their ground as George recovered from the torn ACL in his right elbow. In the 43 games LA has played without their star forward, the team went 19-24. In spite of that, the Clippers are still holding on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Fortunately, George returned and his team's fight to get a playoff spot is looking better.

The All-Star's recent return could have been a quiet one against the Utah Jazz. Instead of taking things easy, George would erupt in such a way that took fans and NBA card collectors by surprise. In almost 31 minutes on the floor, the forward notched 34 points on 50% shooting from the field and 66% from downtown while making 6 assists, 4 steals, 2 rebounds, and a single block.

George's impressive effort sparked the Clippers to erase the Jazz' 25-point lead in the second half to get the 121-115 win. Even Utah's All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell was left speechless after the loss.

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If this version of George would stay until the rest of the season, collectors would be more than happy to return to his stock. While the Clippers' hopes of making the playoffs aren't guaranteed, the All-Star's return and recent performance against the Jazz are helping Los Angeles' case get stronger.

The state of Paul George cards in the market

Thanks to the All-Star's absence during the past few months, most Paul George cards in the market have either stayed where they are or went down in price. A good example to look at is George's PSA 10 2012 Prizm card.

Paul George, Clippers, NBA Cards

In a three-month chart by Card Ladder, the said card started at $72 late last year. Over the past months, it peaked at $80 before taking a plunge to its current price of $33. That's a 54% drop from its starting price over the course of 12 sales on eBay.

Just by looking at this value, one can say that it doesn't entirely match what George can actually do on the court. It remains to be seen whether the Clippers' star can string a series of good games before the regular season is done, or potentially make waves in the postseason.

The verdict on Paul George cards

George's stock in the card market is tremendously undervalued right now. While all the hate on him during the Bubble may still linger in the minds of collectors, it still doesn't diminish the fact that the Clippers can be competitive with him around.

Paul George, Clippers

That's why it only makes sense to get into those Paul George cards while no one is looking for them at the bottom. His stock will make a good flip, especially if he has a good game or two in the near future, and more so if the Clippers make the playoffs. As such, always keep in mind to buy low on his cards so you can make the most out of it when the time to flip comes.