After nearly four months, Paul George was back with his teammates on Friday getting shots up. For the first time since being acquired over a year ago, he says he feels 100 percent.
“I had some insecurities to start the season off,” George said to reporters yesterday. “I had insecurities throughout the season just because I wasn’t all the way 100. Shoulder didn’t feel back to 100. Everything was kind of waiting and hoping, believing in the doctors that everything they were telling me was going to come into this moment now where I feel great, no shoulder issues.
“The whole season, all the way up until maybe a month or two ago, I had to always do shoulder rehab stuff, warming the shoulder up. Just so much went into stuff I had to do before I actually took a foot on the floor. Now I feel great again. I feel great going on the court, shooting, doing regular things. Just confident in that, feeling back to myself again.”
Majority of NBA players would love to have the kind of year George was having. He was averaging 21 points a game, to go along with nearly six rebounds and four assists. All this while averaging about seven minutes fewer a game than his previous few seasons. Oh, and he’s shooting 40 percent from deep.
The time off was beneficial for everyone, as it helped George and other recover from nagging injuries. Now, the guys are fully healthy and feeling 100 percent. Although there’s limited time to practice now, George doesn’t think it’ll be an issue. During the regular season, the team never had much time to practice together as a whole, and the Clippers did just fine.
Although George hasn’t been with his teammates in so long, he feels the hiatus actually may have helped the team, and be beneficial moving forward.
“I felt our relationships within the team grew even more because everyone was contacting each other, everybody was staying in touch, making sure we was pushing each other to stay ready,” George said. “I think our communication, I think our chemistry has grown a lot. So, you know, I think because of that, because of the halt in the season, it really benefited for us.”
A lot of news usually surrounds Kawhi Leonard, and for good reason. But a lot of people seem to forget about George, who has played at an All-Star level this season while injured. During his last season in OKC, George finished third in MVP voting. If the Clippers are getting a fully healthy George and Leonard for the most crucial stretch of the season, the Clippers could be set to perform at a level we’ve never seen from them.