The NBA’s four-month hiatus allowed Paul George to fully heal for the first time since having surgery on both shoulders last offseason, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. In a Zoom session with reporters, the Clippers star talked about how much progress he has made since the season was suspended.
“I had insecurities throughout the season just because I wasn’t all the way 100 (percent), shoulder didn’t feel back to 100 (percent),” George said. “Everything was kind of waiting and hoping, believing in the doctors that everything they were telling me was going to come into this moment now where I feel great, no shoulder issues. The whole season, all the way up until maybe a month or two ago, I had to always do shoulder rehab stuff, warming the shoulder up. Just so much went into stuff I had to do before I actually took a foot on the floor.
“Now I feel great again. I feel great going on the court, shooting, doing regular things. Just confident in that, feeling back to myself again.”
Even though George finished third in the MVP race with the Thunder last season, he was playing through pain, dealing with a small labrum tear in his left shoulder and a partially torn tendon in the right one. He was traded to L.A. in July, but missed all of training camp and the Clippers’ first 11 regular season games while recovering from the operations. A strained left hamstring in midseason cost him 11 more games.
George told reporters he was able to stay in “great shape” during the hiatus by using an exercise machine, adding, “My body (is) in the best form that it can be right now.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers got to watch George shoot at the team’s practice facility and said the physical difference was evident.
“When you factor in at the beginning of training camp, P.G. couldn’t play, he wasn’t healthy,” Rivers said. “Now in this second ‘training camp,’ he’ll be 100 percent healthy. I think that’s huge for us.”