Paul George enters health and safety protocols, against pelicans

Paul George has entered NBA health and safety protocols and will miss the LA Clippers’ playoff game against New Orleans on Friday night, according to a team spokesperson.

Dennis Rogers said George was unavailable for the elimination match at Arena.

“We feel really bad for Paul and hope for a speedy recovery,” said Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations, confirming George’s status for the elimination game at Arena.

George’s absence is a blow to the Clippers’ hopes of making the playoffs. They must win to earn the No. 8 seed and a first-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns.

George scored 34 points in a 109-104 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday in Game 1 of the qualifier. That loss cost the Clippers the No. 7 seed and a first-round game with Memphis.

Besides George, the Clippers were already without Kawhi Leonard, who hasn’t played all season recovering from a torn ACL.

“It’s another challenge for our group,” Frank said. “The group has faced challenges all year. We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup, we’ve overcome big deficits and yet this group has always responded.”

The silver lining for the Clippers is that they have experience playing without George this season, as he battled an elbow injury throughout the season.

PG-13 has played just 31 of 82 regular season games this season, and the Clippers have gone 18-13 in those games. Without George, LA went 24-27, just a notch below .500.

He missed 43 consecutive games between December 26 and March 25.

“I really think all the things we’re going to ask our guys [Friday]they’ve all been doing it all year,” Frank said. “It’s not going to be a whole new experience for any of our guys.”

George returned to the lineup late in the season and played in five of the final seven regular season games. In those games, he averaged 22.6 points, 6.8 assists, and 5.6 assists. The Clippers went 4-1 in those contests.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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