INDIANAPOLIS – From the looks of it, you wouldn’t consider it an unusual scene.
In the corner he moves, takes the pass, sets, jumps, and puts the ball in the air. Then he moves over to the wing and repeats the same process. Same for the top of the key then the opposite wing and corner.
Paul George may very well have done this thousands of times at the practice gym at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since the team drafted him in 2010. But the circumstances make this routine anything but that these days.
A gruesome broken leg at the beginning of August has limited him to just shooting in place on the floor. No running to his spot or taking it in for a trademark slam. It’s a slow recovery that will take more time than might meet the typical fan’s eyes.
“It’s been going smoothly,” said George of the rehab in his first media session since the start of the NBA season. “I come in here, I get my weights done. I still go about my day as if I’m playing. Obviously there are limitations.
“Everyday it feels great. My rehab is going good. I’m satisfied. I’m happy with where I’m at.”
George had an overall positive tenor about his recovery to this point-which is still consisting of simple steps. He’s not running or sprinting on hard ground just on the team’s pool treadmill for a little bit of conditioning.
“I just upgraded actually as early as next week to start doing stuff on the court,” said George in a general update about where he was in his training. “Real limited stuff but moving and making that transitions and that’s where were at as of now.”
Because of that George has been watching the games and according to Frank Vogel will probably be there for the rest of the year. While Paul holds out hope to play the coach still put limited odds on the forward returning to action this year.
In the meantime George is left to sit and watch the Pacers’ games with a critical eye. For many of the games George sits next to Pacers media relations coordinator David Benner just to the side of the Pacers’ bench. As a joke this week, Benner put a picture of George’s press pass and seat card on his Twitter account after he said the forward asked for one.
All fun aside, George says he’s been a diligent student through the whole process.
“It’s just learning. Watching it from a coach perspective and even from a fan perspective of areas where I see myself later down the line, areas where I can improve and operate from,” said George of his mindset while on the sidelines. “You just learn so much from just watching the game and being a fan and enjoy being apart of the game.
“I just learn when my name is called and my time comes where I can be effective at.”
Maybe appreciate a little more too. George admitted that when asked specifically about how he views basketball now having to likely sit out an entire season. The broken leg his suffered in the Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas was the first time that George had ever broken a bone.
“When you lose something like basketball which is everything to me, I feel like I took a lot of things for granted in this game,” said George. “Coming back they’ll be a lot more passion to it, just a lot of love for this game and I think that will show the second that I’m back on the court.”
When things will be normal when they look like it as George moves from corner to wing to key.