By Ben Brown
Paul George said that he wants to come back to the team March 1.
The Pacers currently sit half a game out from the final playoff spot, and with George’s return, the team is hoping to make a late run and clinch a spot.
My biggest fear is that George will try to force a come back too quickly.
At 23rd in the league, the Pacers could definitely use some scoring help, but if George reinjures his leg, the team could be looking at two bad seasons instead of one.
If he does return, the Pacers should give him the rest he needs and limit his minutes. Making a run just to get to the playoffs is not something they should risk the team’s star player for.
George seems to understand this as the March 1 return is just a return to practice. He said he hoped that he would be able to play his first game by the middle of March.
I have high hopes that the Pacers can make the playoffs. However, if they just make it, they will be playing against the best team in the Eastern Conference – the Atlanta Hawks.
George said that facing off against the Hawks or the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs would be ideal. If George gets his way, I can see an early exit from the playoffs for the Pacers. If they expect to make a decent run, they need to push for a higher seed.
When George returns no one knows what form he is coming back in. He may be sluggish and his shot may be a bit rusty. Also the atmosphere in a playoff game is a challenge for anyone and even harder for a player just returning from a major injury.