Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers, who are trying to make the playoffs, announced Saturday that All-Star guard Paul George would be available to play Sunday against the Miami Heat.
George has missed the entire season after breaking his right leg in a gruesome accident during a Team USA scrimmage in August. He was initially projected to miss the entire 2014-15 season.
"The recovery has been a long process and this is another step in the process," said George, a two-time All-Star and the NBA's Most Improved Player in 2012-13. "I thank everyone, my family, friends, doctors, our training staff, coaches, the entire Pacers family for their support and encouragement. I'm excited, but at the same time I'm aware I'm still in a rehab stage and will continue to work to get back to full strength."
The return of George couldn't have come at a better time for Indiana, which sits 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as of Saturday. The top seed in the East a year ago, the Pacers have struggled to a 33-43 record with six games left to play.
The Heat play at Detroit on Saturday night.
"We're happy to have Paul back in uniform, and this is just another step in his rehabilitation from the injury," said Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird. "He has worked hard to get to this point and still has work to do, but it's a positive step toward what we hope will be a full recovery at some point. His minutes will be limited in games he plays as we evaluate his progress moving forward."
George averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 80 games last season.