Clippers' Lawrence Frank Coy on Paul George's Return from Surgery

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2019

Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball team introduce Paul George at a press conference at the Green Meadows Recreation Center in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank declined to comment on when Paul George might return to the court after he underwent rotator cuff surgery in May.  

"He's worked his tail off, he's been terrific," Frank said of the six-time All-Star, per the Orange County Register's Mirjam Swanson. "We've got great performance, health and wellness staff, and we've kind of put it in their hands."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young reported in the spring that George's recovery was likely to linger into preseason training camp. In addition to the rotator cuff surgery, he underwent a procedure on his left labrum.

Camp opens league-wide Oct. 1. The Clippers are heading west to Hawaii for their training camp and open the preseason Oct. 3 against the Houston Rockets in Honolulu.

George has at least gotten to the point at which he can have some fun on the court. He embarrassed one poor fan during an event in his hometown of Palmdale, California.

The Clippers are heading into 2019-20 with massive expectations. They're +450 to win the NBA title at the Caesars Palace sportsbook, which are the second-best title odds behind the Los Angeles Lakers (+300).

Ideally, L.A. will have George healthy at the start of the regular season so he can build a strong rapport with Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the roster.

But his health will take top priority, especially early in the year. Although George's and Leonard's player options in 2021-22 give the franchise an incentive to hit the ground running, the front office will take a wider view of the situation. The window for contention extends beyond 2020.

Wojnarowski and Young noted George's shoulder problems began in February and lingered for the remainder of the season, playing a role in the Oklahoma City Thunder's first-round playoff exit.

Leonard's load-management strategy with the Toronto Raptors showed a team could proactively rest one of its stars without significantly hurting its championship hopes. When it comes to George, the Clippers will likely take every precaution to ensure he can save his best basketball for the postseason.

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