The Clippers appear to be playing the long game with their latest sidelined superstar. Los Angeles will let injured All-Star forward Paul George stay shelved for “a few more weeks,” per Adrian Wojnarowski and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). George is still recovering from a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The seven-time All-Star was initially projected to miss at least three-to-four weeks of game action when he first incurred the injury in late December. Woj adds (via Twitter) that the team will assess George’s elbow after giving it more time for rest.
Through 26 games this season, the 6’8″ forward is averaging 24.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG and 5.5 APG. George had been one of the leading vote-getters in the West through the first All-Star fan voting returns. The injury seems to have impacted the fan vote, as George is now polling fourth among eligible conference forwards.
The Clippers are, of course, also missing their other All-Star forward, Kawhi Leonard, who remains shelved as he continues to recuperate from an ACL tear suffered during the Clippers’ 2021 playoff run to the Western Conference Finals.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (Twitter link), the Clippers owe their unprotected 2022 first-round draft pick to the Thunder as part of their initial trade for George in the summer of 2019. There is certainly a chance that that pick could wind up in the lottery, especially if George and Leonard remain sidelined indefinitely.
That said, L.A. is still in good position to make the play-in tournament. The Clippers have gone 5-8 since George’s injury. At 22-23, the Clippers are currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference, 4.5 games clear of the current No. 11 seed, the 18-28 Kings.