Tuesday, October 4 2022
Los Angeles Clippers Paul George smiles as he sits on the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday, March 25, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Sidelined since December, Paul George will officially return to the Clippers’ lineup Tuesday night.

Speaking before his team tipped off against the Utah Jazz at Crypto.com Arena, coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that George will play for the first time since Dec. 22. He will play a limited number of minutes.

“We’re not going to ride him too hard,” Lue said. “It’s going to be an adjustment period, but it’s going to be good to have him on the floor.”

George averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds. 5.5 assists and 4.2 turnovers in his first 26 games before injuring the ulnar collateral ligament in his right, shooting elbow. After resting for two weeks in December, he attempted a return, only to be held out of the lineup in what has become a 43-game absence.

The return follows a ramp-up period the last two weeks during which George — who was shooting solely with his left hand in early February — graduated from no-contact drills to four-on-four play with minimal contact to five-on-five play without restrictions. He practiced fully Sunday and Monday.

The Clippers have lost five in a row and the Jazz four straight. Getting George back provides a “huge” emotional boost for a team whose short-handed roster is beginning to wear down, Lue said.

“I know he’s excited,” Lue said.

In addition to George’s return to the lineup, the Clippers are ramping up the minutes played by veterans Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum after each played under restrictions in recent weeks to keep them fresh before the postseason, which begins in mid-April.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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