Paul George has been playing some brilliant basketball for the Los Angeles Clippers this season, but he sat out the team's loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday night due to a foot injury, and it's not clear when he'll be back on the court.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue offered few details on George's status and repeated "I don't know" to a series of questions about specifics. "I'm not really sure when he really started feeling it or whatever," Lue said. "I'm not really sure … he did have a hell of a game [in Cleveland]. So, just hope we can get him back soon ... We're going to miss him. We wish him a speedy recovery."
George was initially listed on the Clippers' injury report with a sore foot, but the specific injury is a bone edema in his toe. That's a bit of an obscure one, so it's worth getting a little bit more information, courtesy of Arlington Orthopedic Specialists:
"Bone marrow edema, also referred to as a bone marrow lesion, is the build-up of fluid within the bone marrow. Typically this accumulation of fluid is due to an injury to the bones. Bone marrow consists of fatty, bony, and blood cell producing material and is contained within what is called the 'spongy bone.' When edema occurs, the increased fluid inside the bone causes inflammation of the bone marrow and adjacent joint."
So how long might George be on the sidelines? It seems like the Clippers really don't know, but Lue's response and tone indicated that it could end up being a decent amount of time. For what it's worth, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register noted in her report that, "Chicago's Otto Porter Jr. missed all but 14 of the Bulls' 65 games in the shortened 2019-20 season with a left foot fracture that initially was diagnosed as 'continued bone edema.'"
Through his first 20 games, George was putting together one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 24.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 50/40/90-club efficiency. In particular, he had been shooting the ball better than ever. His career-best 47.8 percent mark from downtown was seventh in the league, and among players with at least 100 3-point attempts, only Joe Harris had been more efficient.
George has now missed four games this season, and the Clippers are 1-3 in those outings, which isn't surprising. In the 680 minutes that George has been on the court this season, the Clippers have a plus-14 net rating. In the 472 minutes without him, they have a minus-1.1 net rating.
It goes without saying that this is a massive loss for Los Angeles, and they're going to have to lean on Kawhi Leonard even more than they already do. The one bit of good news for the third-place Clippers is that they got off to a 17-7 start this season, which has them in third place in the Western Conference, and 3.5 games ahead of the teams behind them. That buffer will be important as they try to figure things out in George's absence.