George out for camp start after surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George will miss the start of his team’s 2019-20 preseason training camp at minimum after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder, the team announced (per Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman).

George averaged a career-high 28.0 points and 8.2 rebounds this season. The All-Star was considered an MVP candidate before spending the latter half of the year dealing with a shoulder injury.

“I think it came at a terrible time, especially [because] the team was rolling,” George said of the shoulder injury. “We were playing good. I was holding up pretty, pretty, pretty good. I just thought it came at the wrong time, honestly. But again, I’ve never made no excuses on it. I was dealing with it for a long time throughout the season. It just got worse and worse as it went on.

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“Injuries are part of the game,” he added. “I’ve missed a season being hurt, so I was able to— the training staff assured me I was fine to play through it, and I will be fine going forward. I’d had no other thought in my mind but to be out there and play and ride it out with my guys.”

George was the Thunder’s best player throughout the regular season, and it was clear the shoulder was hampering him more than he was letting on.

Russell Westbrook also underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left hand that he’d been dealing with the final six weeks of the regular season. The injury was never made public, and the level to which it affected Westbrook’s game is unclear. The 2016 NBA MVP also underwent a procedure on right knee that was considered “proactive maintenance.” 

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