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Clippers star Paul George to return tonight against the Jazz

Clippers star Paul George to return tonight against the Jazz

Sidelined since December, Paul George will officially return to the Clippers’ lineup Tuesday.

Speaking before his team tipped off against Utah at Crypto.com Arena, coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that George will play for the first time since Dec. 22. George will play a limited number of minutes.

“We’re not going to ride him too hard,” Lue said. “It’s going to be an adjustment period, but it’s going to be good to have him on the floor.”

George had averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds. 5.5 assists and 4.2 turnovers in his first 26 games before injuring the ulnar collateral ligament in his right, shooting elbow. After resting for two weeks in December he attempted a return, only to be held out of the lineup for rest in what has become a 43-game absence.

The return follows a ramp-up period the last two weeks during which George — who was shooting solely with his left hand in early February — had graduated from no-contact drills to four-on-four with minimal contact, to five-on-five without restrictions. He practiced fully on Sunday and Monday.

The Clippers have lost five in a row, the Jazz four straight, but getting George back provides a “huge” emotional boost for a team whose short-handed roster is beginning to wear down, Lue said Monday.

“I know he’s excited,” Lue said.

In addition to George’s return to the lineup, the Clippers are ramping up the minutes played by veterans Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum after each had played under restrictions in recent weeks to keep them fresh before the postseason, which begins in mid-April.





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