Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George was tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be joining his team for a match against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. The winner of this match will be playing in the first round of the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns.
The former Indiana Pacers star said he had the symptoms on Thursday, as it was said that George was not feeling really well. On Friday morning, the results came out and he was tested positive for COVID-19. As for now, the team is wishing for George’s speedy recovery and is following the NBA’s health and safety protocols to determine how long he will be out of the game. As one of the most impactful players on the Clippers, his absence will be another challenge for the team.
Lawrence Frank just said that Paul George started to not feel good on Thursday. His test results came back positive on Friday morning.
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) April 15, 2022
Lawrence Frank, the team’s president of basketball operations, said that the Clippers will face another struggle due to George’s absence.
“This is another challenge for our group. The group has dealt with challenges all year. We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup. We’ve dealt with overcoming large deficits and yet this group has always responded,” Frank said.
Impacts of George’s absence
George was just returning from his elbow injury in March when he led the team to a 121-115 victory over the Utah Jazz. The impact of his absence was evident as the Clippers went from 24-27 to 18-13. The Clippers were even defeated by the Pelicans by 24 points during the regular season. When he returned, the Clippers immediately snatched 6 victories over their past 8 games.
The 6.8-foot guard has an average of 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.7 assists this season. In a match against Minnesota, he scored 34 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and assisted 5.
With George out once again, the point spread at sportsbooks for the upcoming Clippers-Pelicans game shifted, and the Clippers went from a 4-point favorite to a 1-point underdog.
Despite having one of their stars out, the team remained in eighth place under the guidance of coach Tyronn Lue. After all, it was not their first time encountering such a situation. Aside from George, Kawhi Leonard and Normal Powell had both sustained injuries and were forced to sit out for several weeks.
It seems like Lue has all the plans prepared despite his stars’ absence. “I don’t think Ty has to do any convincing to the group that we have enough to win because they’ve shown it. This group has been very, very resilient. They support each other and they play for each other,” Frank added.
The Clippers are rumored to play short-handed and there will be more ball movement in the game.
Paul George’s injury
On December 25, the seven-time All-Star suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow that caused him to miss five games. The following month, it was announced that George would remain on the sidelines as the injury was being evaluated.
Usually, this type of injury needs 3–4 weeks of recovery. However, George’s injury took longer to recover, which held him from the game until March. In February, George’s elbow showed positive progress, and he started his practice in early March. On March 29, George finally returned to the court to play against the Utah Jazz. Due to the three-month absence, George missed 51 games.