Paul George tweaked his elbow early in December, the Clippers called it a sprain and he missed five games rehabbing it. George returned for a couple of games this past week, shot 40% (he’s at 42% for the season), but his elbow was still giving him pain.
Now George will be out at least a month — and maybe much longer — with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team announced. George will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks, according to the team, and Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes says that is the typical timeline.
Re: Paul George: Elbow UCL injuries are common in baseball (think Tommy John) but not so much in the NBA. I’ve recorded 7 confirmed cases including Andrea Bargnani, Evan Fournier, Nicolas Batum, & Jimmy Butler. Average missed time lost for a G2 UCL sprain? ~13 games (~28 days).
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) December 25, 2021
However, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN hinted it could be much longer.
"The team will re-evaluate him in 3-4 weeks, they'll see if rest can get him on a pathway to recovery, but he's gonna be out certainly a significant period of time and there's no real sense of when, or if, he'll be back this year."@wojespn on Clippers' star Paul George.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 26, 2021
“If” is very concerning, making it sound like a team considering surgery an option if rest does not fix the issue.
The Clippers are already without Kawhi Leonard following ACL surgery — his return this season is up in the air — and George is the team’s leading scorer at 27.4 points per game, plus he grabs 7.1 rebounds and dishes out 5.4 assists a night. George has played at an All-NBA level and been the best player on the team.
The Clippers sit fifth in the West at 17-15. The roster is filled with quality role players — Reggie Jackson, Terrence Mann, Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris and more — but they are not near the same threat without George or Leonard.