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NBA Injury Comebacks: Paul George

The modern NBA is so different from what it used to be. You only need to glance at the different teams Odds To Win NBA Finals to see that its more competitive and high-performing than ever before.

With this competitiveness comes a more aggressive style of playing and, the worst possible scenario for a professional athlete, more injuries on the court!

However, athletes now have a much greater understanding of their injuries, and more organizations are open to letting their stars get the rest they need instead of rushing back to the court. In layman's terms, the age of pushing through the pain is largely over!

This gives players the chance to quickly bounce back to the league. This is precisely what Clippers star Paul George did.

Who Is Paul George?
Also known by his moniker of "PG-13," Clippers" star Paul George is one of the most notable small forwards in the NBA.

He has a seamless and almost musical style of playing that stems from being an excellent passer with good court vision. This blends well with the Clippers playing strategy.

He also possesses incredible athleticism, durability, and speed, and has a great length which makes him a court threat in nearly every way. As a result, the small forward has established himself as one of the NBAs greatest perimeter defenders.

College Career
George played two seasons of college basketball at California State University for the Fresno State Bulldogs. He saw lots of success in college basketball.

Entering his sophomore season, he’' made a name for himself as an entertaining basketball player with a lot of flair on the court. George opted to forgo his final two seasons of college basketball to enter the 2010 NBA Draft.

Professional Career
NBA Draft: Indiana Pacers (2010-2017)
George was selected as the tenth pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 2010 NBA Draft, becoming the highest Draft pick in school history!

He achieved lots of breakout success with the Pacers. George was one of only two rookies from the 2010 Draft to be in the playoffs starting lineup for the Pacers. He was also named to the All-Rookie Second Team in 2011 for his talents.

After two years as a shooting guard, and with Danny Granger sustaining injuries and missing nearly the entire season, George adapted to the small forward position.

Oklahoma City Thunder (2017-2019)
Despite his pending free agent status planned for the following year, George signed with the Thunder in July 2017 in exchange for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.

In his debut, he scored a team-high of 28 points in a 105-84 win over the New York Knicks. He also scored a season-high win of 42 points (in a 120-111) against the Clippers.

In January 2018, George was named to Team LeBron for the NBA All-Star Game 2018 as a replacement for injured player DeMarcus Cousins.

Los Angeles Clippers (2019- Present)
George missed the first 11 games of the 2019-2020 season but got straight into the action after returning, scoring 33 points in a 132-127 loss against the New York Pelicans. Unfortunately, his season performance wasn't up to scratch.

Yet, after signing a $190 million extension with the Clippers for the 2020-21 season, George re-established his talents and ended up leading the team to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 51 years.

Injuries and Recovery
George's first real major injury occurred in the 2014 off-season. After being added to the US National Team training roster, he came down awkwardly in a practice game while guarding shooting guard James Harden.

The fall saw him immediately carted off from the court with compound (open) fractures in both bones in his lower right leg. He was immediately taken into surgery, had pins inserted into his leg, and started his recovery.

He was expected to miss the whole year but showed up in all the final six games of the season.

During his time with Oklahoma City Thunder, he went down again after sustaining a bad shoulder injury. This derailed his shooting touch and required surgery to fix.

He missed the first 11 games at the start of the 2019 season with the Clippers due to his recovery and only played in a total of 48 games that year. Regardless, he managed to perform pretty well when he returned!

In December 2021, it was announced that George had sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. This injury sidelined him for the majority of the year. He sat out until March 2022 – four months after the injury – before making a thrilling return.

NBA Comeback
Although he has subsequently missed numerous games over the past couple of years, George has made a full comeback. He is also back in play for the 2022-23 season, meaning the Clippers defense is back on top!

What's Next?
Despite facing so many potentially career-ending injuries, this talented player has defied the odds and made some of the NBA's most miraculous comebacks to the game. Theres no self-pity present in any of Paul George's mannerisms, and the Clippers defense wouldn't be what it is without him!