Pacers forward Paul George participated in shootaround on Saturday and told reporters that he will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat after suffering a concussion earlier this week.
''Feel good. Feel great,'' George said, according to the Associated Press. ''Ready to go.''
Indiana coach Frank Vogel said there will be no minutes restrictions placed upon George.
The Pacers had announced Friday that their two-time All-Star forward was expected to play "barring any unforeseen complications" during shootaround.
George was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday, one day after taking a knee to the head from Heat guard Dwyane Wade in Game 2 on Tuesday. The fourth-year forward has spent the last three days in the NBA's concussion program, and he has been symptom-free, according to the Pacers.
"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," a team release said. "George will participate in [Saturday's] shootaround and barring any unforeseen complications, he will play in Saturday’s game at the Miami Heat."
With a little under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and Indiana leading 73-69, Wade lost his handle on the ball as George hounded him in the left corner. George dove to the court in an attempt to corral the loose ball, and Wade fell over the top of George as he awkwardly attempted to make a play on the ball.
As Wade fell over George, his left knee and right leg made contact with the back of George's head. Both players were shaken up on the play, and George lay face down on the court for some time. The Pacers subsequently took a timeout and both players eventually remained in the game, although George initially appeared to still be a bit out of it.
“I blacked out as soon as it happened and then … however much time was remaining, I was just blurry," George said afterwards.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel initially told reporters on Tuesday night that he did not believe George's injury was serious and that George was cleared to return to the court.
"I do not [have an update]," Vogel said. "The only information I got during the game was that he was good to go."
Pacers.com reported Tuesday night that George "answered all of the questions" necessary to complete the NBA's concussion protocol and that the only symptom he reported was "pain in the back of the head."
In a press release Wednesday, the Pacers said George "exhibited no symptoms of a concussion and, in response to questions from the Pacers’ medical staff, he denied dizziness, nausea, and issues with his vision" immediately after the play. That, and the fact that George was "active and aware of his surroundings," led the Pacers' medical staff to conclude George did not sustain a concussion on the play.
The Pacers further stated that they conducted a full concussion test after George told reporters following the game that he "blacked out" during the play, a statement that he hadn't made to the team's doctors. That test, the Pacers said, did not reveal any "active symptoms."
George then underwent further testing on Wednesday, when a neurologist diagnosed George with a concussion "based on his postgame reporting that he had briefly lost consciousness during the game."
Kutcher said Wednesday that the Pacers followed the league's protocol in treating George, even though he was allowed to continue playing after the incident.
"The Indiana Pacers medical team followed the NBA concussion protocol and there was no indication of concussion during the game," Kutcher said in a statement. "This case illustrates that concussion evaluation is an ongoing process and manifestations of the injury may not always present immediately.”
The series is now tied at one game apiece.
George, 24, is averaging a team-high 21.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 42.5 percent during the playoffs.Video via YouTube user hardwoodparoxysm14