LA Clippers PR announced late Thursday afternoon that Paul George would miss Friday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors. Is it really that concerning though?
After the announcement of the Clippers star player Paul George preemptively missing a game due to “Left hamstring strain”, fans began to grow a little anxious. Understandably so, the team, after all, has dealt with health issues since the beginning of the season and has rolled out a league-leading sixteen different starting lineups.
This strained hamstring is the same one that kept George from playing in the second half against the Pistons just one week ago. The starting wing complained of tightness in his hamstring at the half in that game, did not play the rest of the night, and even missed the next game against Memphis. He did, however, return to play against the Knicks on Sunday, and shot the ball handily with 32 points in 26 minutes on 9 of 14 from the field and 5 of 6 from three.
The news of the hamstring going from sore to strained has definitely caused some alarm, especially being announced twenty-four hours in advance. Or, it could be the team taking the cautious road, and maybe even bending the resting rules just a little bit.
The Clippers held team practice two days in a row after some much-needed rest. There wasn’t any indication that he hadn’t practiced this week. Appearing as if he likely practiced two days in a row this ruling seems to be one of precaution.
PG became a Clipper this summer via trade with Oklahoma City and had surgery on both of his shoulders in the offseason, forcing him to miss the first ten games of the year. The surgeries were done as a result of an injury last February. When he finally made his debut as a Clipper it had been the first time he’s been in an NBA game since April. It makes sense for the team to proceed with caution.
The superstar is a vital part of what the franchise is hoping will be a deep playoff push, perhaps contending for the first title in Clippers’ history. PG’s play prior to his shoulder injury was good enough to land him third in MVP voting last year. His numbers took a dip after getting hurt, the Clippers appear to be easing him back into his MVP-caliber form this year, hoping to get him back to superstar shape just in time for the postseason.
In a season where “load management” has become the hot topic of debate, teams are being forced to be creative, and perhaps a little embellished at times, with their reasoning for sitting their star players. This sidelining of George could be just that- the team using an actual incident from the recent past to rest a player in a game they could easily win without.
We will continue to update the situation as more will likely be revealed on the severity of the situation prior to Friday night’s tip-off.