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Paul George unsure if he’ll be able to play this season

Detroit Pistons v Indiana Pacers

Detroit Pistons v Indiana Pacers

NBAE/Getty Images

The ongoing will-he-or-won’t-he Paul George comeback saga ramped up this week with Larry Bird’s comments that he hopes the All-Star forward will be able to return to the Pacers in March. George suffered a horrific leg injury in August during a Team USA scrimmage, and the general sense around the league is that he won’t play until next season.

George addressed reporters on Thursday, talking about his recovery process and saying he still doesn’t know whether or not he will play.

Paul George tells the media he has been participating in practice. “Everything except for contact.” pic.twitter.com/wEUfpPlsIF

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 5, 2015


PG said once cleared to play, conditioning is “going to be the toughest part... Getting my wind back, being able to play like I used to.”

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 5, 2015


Paul George, on his mentality: “I’m not too worried about re-injuring it. The only problem I’ll have is just getting back to where I was.”

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 5, 2015


Paul George says he remains hopeful that he’ll return this year but is still uncertain if that will happen.

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 5, 2015


It sounds like George is taking the right approach to his recovery: he’s not going to come back for the sake of coming back. Truthfully, there’s not a lot of reason for him to play this year. The Pacers aren’t going to make the playoffs, and he could reinjure himself for a lost season.

This has a lot of parallels with Derrick Rose’s situation in 2012-13. After he tore his ACL during the 2012 playoffs, Rose spent all of the following season dealing with speculation on when he’d return. He didn’t end up playing that year, and faced criticism throughout the media and among fans. George won’t face quite as much scrutiny as Rose did, because the Pacers aren’t built up as a contender and play in a small market, not a large on like Chicago. But given how disastrous Rose’s next season was, and how inconsistent he’s been this year in his first full season since his second knee injury, maybe people will be more understanding of George and let him take his time to heal.