Thunder star Paul George is “day to day” with a right shoulder problem, coach Billy Donovan told reporters Friday (via ESPN.com) and wouldn’t speculate if he’ll be available for Game 1 of the first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Trail Blazers that begins Sunday in Portland.
George re-aggravated an injury from about six weeks ago in the Thunder’s 112-111 victory Tuesday over the Rockets and was inactive for Wednesday’s regular-season finale against the Bucks.
“No one has indicated to me this is a long-term deal,” Donovan said Wednesday (per The Oklahoman), when he was asked if he was worried about George’s playoff availability.
George told reporters Friday he will do everything he can to play in Game 1.
Paul George said the pain in his right shoulder was too much to try and play through against Milwaukee, but says “as much as I can get it 100 as possible or close to it, you can expect me out there Sunday.” pic.twitter.com/5wHNiC7CyR
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 12, 2019
George’s shoulders have been troublesome for much of the season’s late-going, though Donovan has said the issues aren’t related.
George has played for about a month with kinesiology tape on his left shoulder. Before that, he sat out for three games between Feb. 28 and March 3 because of soreness in the right one.
Oklahoma City’s leading scorer at 28 points per game, George also averages 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals in a team-high 36.9 minutes.
If he is limited or, worse, unavailable against the Blazers, it offers some hope for Portland, which will be without star big man Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg). Much of OKC’s offense would flow through Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroeder and Steven Adams.