LOS ANGELES -- Even though nearly six months had passed since a surgeon repaired both of his shoulders, Paul George felt betrayed by the little rust he showed during his Los Angeles Clippers debut last fall.
George scored 33 points in 24 minutes on Nov. 14, then needed only 20 minutes to score 37 two nights later. Yet the points, and the ease with which he scored them, masked what George called insecurities about his recovery.
Upon his arrival with his Clippers teammates to Disney World on Wednesday ahead of the NBA restart, there were many questions to consider.
Will the league's so-called "bubble" environment allow the resumption of games to happen July 30? Can the Clippers pick up where they left off in March, when they were second in the Western Conference standings when play was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, their championship aspirations on full display?
George, however, has no more lingering doubt about his health.
"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 stuff went into stuff I had to do before I actually took a foot on the floor. Now I feel great again.
The Clippers as a whole began to feel more like themselves Friday. After clearing the mandatory in-room quarantine, they held an evening practice that was their first as a team since March, and more reinforcements are scheduled to arrive soon. Leading scorer Kawhi Leonard was expected to arrive Friday, coach Doc Rivers said, after tending to an excused family matter. Reserve forward JaMychal Green will arrive Sunday after dealing with his own family matter, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Reserve guard Landry Shamet remains in California in "corona quarantine," he said on social media.
The Clippers eventually will have 15 players in Orlando, two fewer than allowed, Rivers said. Acting on a belief the NBA will allow teams to bring additional staff members to Florida as the playoffs go on, the coach said the team had decided to cut the number of coaches in its initial travel party in order to load up on medical personnel.
"It's awkward for everybody," Rivers said about the circumstances of the restart. "But we've decided to come here. We all had to make an individual decision to come down to Orlando. Once we got here, we decided this is our mission. We're just here, we're going to try to drown out all the stuff that distracts us from our goal. "
While George was using the nearly four-month hiatus to work himself back to shape, he was helping his teammate and close friend Reggie Jackson do the same.