Pacers’ George to return from broken leg

By Michael Marot ,AP

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Two-time All-Star Paul George is coming back to the NBA sooner than expected from a broken leg, having been cleared to play on Sunday for the Indiana Pacers against the Miami Heat.

When George ran into the basket support during a U.S. team practice and broke his right leg in two places on Aug. 1, it seemed a foregone conclusion he would miss the entire 2014-15 season. But he returned to full practices on Feb. 26, and set a mid-March goal to play in games.

He announced his return by tweeting a picture of his game shoes on Saturday, and the team then confirmed the news.

��He has worked hard to get to this point and still has work to do, but it’s a positive step toward what we hope will be a full recovery,�� president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in Indiana’s release. ��His minutes will be limited in games he plays as we evaluate his progress.��

Bird believes if George can get some competitive work in before the end of this season, it would help him continue his progression during the offseason.

Before the injury, George was one of the league’s bright young stars. His scoring average had improved by at least four points in each of his first four NBA seasons, and the swingman was the league’s most improved player for the 2012-13 season.

��I’m excited, but at the same time I’m aware I’m still in a rehab stage and will continue to work to get back to full strength,�� he said.