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Paul George Says Hip Injury Should Be 'Back to 100' for Game 3 vs. Jazz

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 15: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder works the ball against the Utah Jazz during the second half of  Game One of the Western Conference in the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on April 15, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Paul George;
J Pat Carter/Getty Images

After leading his team to a 116-108 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 1, Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George found himself as questionable for Game 2 because of a hip injury suffered during a fall on the court on Sunday.

George wound up playing in Wednesday's game, scoring 18 points in a 102-95 loss at Chesapeake Energy Arena, even though he may not have been fully healthy. The good news for OKC fans is that having a couple of days off before Game 3 should help.

"It was a huge turnaround," George said after Game 2, via ESPN's Royce Young. "After not being able to put shorts on, to obviously playing tonight, it was a huge turnaround. I expect these two, three days in between going to Utah, I should be back to 100."

In between the first two games of the series, the 27-year-old forward was handled with care.

"He was not able to do very much today," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said, via Erik Horne of NewsOK. "He did some things in practice, but not much."

Whether it be because of the injury, the Utah defense or just an off night, George saw a big drop-off in performance on Wednesday night. After going off for 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting (including 8-of-11 from beyond the arc) in Game 1, the five-time All-Star dropped 18 points while going just 6-of-21 from the floor and 4-of-12 from three-point range in Game 2.

It marked the first time in seven April games that he failed to reach the 20-point plateau.

Perhaps the most telling sign of the injury was his ineffectiveness when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter. He went 0-of-6 from the field in the final period while reaching 43 minutes on the court, his highest since December.

Even though he struggled shooting this past game, he did manage to snag 10 rebounds and swat three shots.

Oklahoma City can survive an off night from George as long as Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are knocking down shots. That didn't happen in Game 2, as the OKC big three combined for just 54 points. A total that low doesn't follow the team's winning formula.

With the series now tied at one game apiece, the Thunder can't afford to let George sit and rest. They just have to hope that two-plus days is enough to get him close to 100 percent. Fortunately for the team, he feels that will be enough time.

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