It was almost exactly four months ago that the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended over the COVID-19 pandemic. With the campaign set to resume in less than three weeks, the Los Angeles Clippers now finally seem to be fully healthy.
Los Angeles had been dealing with injuries to star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George prior to the season being suspended. The latter is now excited to get back to action with the team at 100%.
Paul George feels great after undergoing shoulder surgery last spring
George was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blockbuster trade a year ago this month. That came after he underwent off-season shoulder surgery. He missed the start of the 2019-20 campaign and seemingly was not 100% when he returned. That’s now changed.
“The whole season, all the way up until maybe a month or two ago, I had to always do shoulder rehab stuff, warming the shoulder up,” George said Friday. “Just so much went into stuff I had to do before I actually took a foot on the floor. Now I feel great again.”
It’s rather apparent that George’s injury impacted him earlier this season. He’s averaging 21.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 43% shooting from the field. This would represent George’s worst statistical output since he was a member of the Indiana Pacers back in 2012-13.
As for Leonard, he did not play both ends of back-to-backs prior to the season being suspended. The reigning NBA Finals MVP continued to deal with a knee/thigh issues that had been plaguing him.
George seemed to touch on that, too.
“For this team, man, I think our aspirations, again, this time off has given us what we needed,” George said. “We had some guys that was banged up, nagging injuries. The more time gave us more time for us to aid those injuries and to get back to 100.”
Clippers return to the season with NBA championship aspirations
Despite these injuries, Los Angeles heads to Orlando’s bubble city boasting a 44-20 record and as the second seed in the Western Conference. It will have to hold off the Denver Nuggets for that spot, but things are looking good.
We could very well be in store for an all-Los Angeles Western Conference Finals with the Clippers taking on the top seed Lakers. While fans won’t be in attendance, that would still be one heck of a matchup.