MIAMI (AP) — Indiana’s Paul George had no setbacks in his final workout before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals and said he is ready to play when the Pacers visit the Miami Heat on Saturday night.
George sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday night. He was cleared for a return to basketball activities Friday and went through the Pacers’ game day shootaround practice Saturday morning with no problems.
“Feel good. Feel great,” George said. “Ready to go.”
George did not participate in any contact portions of Indiana’s practices Thursday and Friday, while satisfying the NBA-mandated return-to-play protocols laid out for when someone is diagnosed with a concussion. He was able to work on shooting and ball-handling, or “still staying in touch with the basketball,” George said.
He was hurt when Dwyane Wade’s knee struck the back of his head on a play when he dove to try to corral a loose ball in Game 2. George remained in that game, then revealed afterward that he thought he “blacked out” briefly.
Some of the requirements of the return-to-play guidelines, such as endurance testing, were challenging, George said.
“It’s a tiring protocol to go through to get cleared,” George said. “But I was able to manage my legs, still icing them, making sure they’re fresh as much as possible.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel anticipates having no restrictions on George in Game 3, though he acknowledged that he was “mildly concerned” about how much the regimen of getting cleared may have taken out of his best scorer’s legs.
“But he said he feels really good,” Vogel said.