Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel has given a different assessment on Paul George compared to team president Larry Bird and insisted he isn’t ready yet.
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Bird suggested that George has been cleared by the doctors to play, but now it is a case of waiting for the player himself to get into shape to play consistently, provided that he feels comfortable getting back into competitive action.
However, Vogel’s viewpoint of the situation differed slightly, but he was also keen to avoid a situation in which it appeared to the media that he and Bird were not on the same page over George’s comeback.
“There’s a lot of layers to that, so he hasn’t been cleared to play for us,” Vogel said, according to the Indy Star.
“Well, that’s what Larry said. Like I said, there’s a lot of layers to it. He’s not ready. He hasn’t reached our level of what we feel he’s ready to play.”
It isn’t believed that there is genuine discord within the organisation, as ultimately they agree on the fact that George has been cleared to practice, but isn’t ready to take that next step yet in terms of being conditioned to play.
However, the longer it takes to figure out it will leave the Pacers worse off as after a stretch of good form which ensured the 24-year-old held off his comeback, Indiana are now struggling.
Vogel’s men have now lost six straight games to fall a game behind the Boston Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and questions have even started to be asked of their usually reliable defensive effort.
Nevertheless, George will return when he is mentally and physically ready, as the Pacers will want to avoid the possibility of any setback and let him return in his own time.