Paul George is progressing in his rehab and Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he’s willing to play George, Kawhi Leonard or Norman Powell when they’re ready, even if they don’t return before the end of the regular season, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
George has not played since December 22 due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He participated in a 4-on-4 practice against assistant coaches with minimal contact on Sunday.
“He’s feeling better,” Lue said. “That is part of his rehab, having minimal contact with the coaches and trying to get his wind and just kind of see how he feels. To get him on the court for the first time was really good to see, got to continue to keep working and see how he is feeling going forward.”
The Clippers, who have lost three straight, are essentially locked into the play-in tournament. They’re currently eighth in the Western Conference, 6.5 games behind the sixth- and seventh-place Timberwolves and Nuggets with nine games to play. They’re 4.5 games ahead of the ninth-place Lakers.
Leonard hasn’t played this season after undergoing knee surgery last summer. Powell, who fractured a bone in his left foot shortly after he was acquired from Portland at the trade deadline, shed his walking boot last week but hasn’t yet cleared been cleared for contact, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register.
Lue won’t hesitate to use any of them in the playoffs.
“To hit the playoffs going at 100, from zero to 100, that is pretty tough. But if the medical guys say they are cleared and they are able to do that, that is totally up to them,” he said.