When Paul George went down with a horrific leg injury over the summer, and when Lance Stephenson left the Pacer in free agency, a dismal year for Indiana was to be completely expected.
While it certainly started off that way, the team has been playing much better lately, and the Pacers are right there in terms of being in position to finish the regular season by earning one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
George knows he’s an All-Star when healthy, but also knows it’ll take some time to get his groove back in terms of his ability to contribute at the level he’s accustomed to. For that reason, he’s questioning whether or not he wants to come back this season, even if he finds himself fully healthy enough to do so.
When asked directly, George paused, took a thoughtful breath, and said while he still wants to return, he doesn’t want to risk jeopardizing the Pacers’ recent strong play, which has seen the team win seven straight and 13 of their last 15.
“I’m on the fence,” said George, who was injured playing in a scrimmage for Team USA on Aug. 1. “Part of me is (thinking), they’re playing so well, they’ve come together, to shake up the chemistry and add another body, another player in there … I don’t want to be that guy that destroys what these guys have going.
“On the other hand, there’s a part of me that’s like, ‘I can definitely help.’ It’s a difficult point in my role right now, but we’ll take it day-to-day.”
Make no mistake — when George is ready (and deemed ready by the coaching staff), he will return just as soon as possible.
While his humility is nice, the Pacers aren’t going to do any damage in the playoffs without George in the lineup — and the organization knows that.