INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Pacers will likely have their top scorer, after all.
Forward Paul George was cleared to participate in basketball activities Friday evening by team doctors. George, who sustained a concussion Tuesday, is expected to start against the Miami Heat in Saturday's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"The Pacers staff consulted with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the NBA's Director of Concussion Management, throughout George's progress through the protocol and today cleared him to return to normal basketball activity," the Pacers said in a statement. "George will participate in (Saturday's) shootaround and barring any unforeseen complications, he will play in Saturday's game at the Miami Heat."
George had earned a new nickname since the injury. He's worn a red no-contact jersey the past two days of practices, giving teammates a chance to make light of the serious situation. They playfully referred to him as Peyton Manning, because he isn't allowed to take any hits in practice.
"That's perfect," George said after Friday's practice. "I'll wear this (jersey3/8)until the end of the year."
George was injured in the fourth quarter of Game 2 when he collided with Heat guard Dwyane Wade. While chasing a loose ball, George was kneed in the head by Wade. Afterward, he said he momentarily blacked out.
"Yeah, but I probably should have kept that to myself," George said. "It just made a mess. That's something that, going forward, just keep that between myself and the training staff."
This is the first time he's ever sustained concussion. He said most of the effects have passed.
"I mean, just going through all the stuff that I need to go through to get cleared, battling through that as well as trying to stay sharp at the same time," George said. "So it's a little bit of both. It's been a rough two days, but I've been able to rest a little bit this week."
A three-day break between games benefited George. He was only able to shoot jumpshots in practice, but has maintained his conditioning.
"I'm going to approach it the best way I can to make sure I finish out all the tests I need to as well as get rest and time to be able to play come Saturday night," George said.
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