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George okay to play for Pacers in Game 3

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The NBA playoffs have presented several crisis's to the Indiana Pacers so far. Technically, the Pacers are in a very familiar position in these NBA playoffs, as they once again lost home court in the first two games of a series and need to get it back on the road. But in this case, the Pacers feared they wouldn't have Paul George available for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat on May 24, yet their worst fears were avoided on May 23.

George was feared to have suffered a concussion late in Game 2 on May 20, but after a few nerve wracking days, he passed his medical tests and was cleared to play Game 3. The Heat will now get to play a Pacers team at full strength in Miami on May 24, as George has even more motivation to beat them and pay back Dwayne Wade for kneeing him in the back of the head days ago.

If Indiana gets an effective George, having him around will be a relief. However, George and most of the Pacers' starters weren't effective against the Heat in Game 2, even before the injury. While the entire Indiana team was red hot in its Game 1 win on May 18, Miami was far more equipped to contain it two nights later.

Now that the Pacers have lost home court yet again in the NBA playoffs, they need at least one win in Miami to get it back, although that is easier said than done -- and will be truly difficult if George isn't at his best. He claimed after he got hurt that he "briefly blacked out" which sparked the NBA to implement its concussion protocol. Yet after he was cleared, he told reporters that he regretted making the comment and that it "made a mess."

Since these are the NBA playoffs, players like George will try to play through anything and ignore the risk, even if it isn't good for them. The fact George regretted speaking out reflects that, although it may speak to a larger problem in detecting and reporting injuries -- one that all sports have a problem with in some way.

But for now, the Pacers can focus on their other problems and hope that George can help solve them in Miami, starting in Game 3 at 8 p.m. est on ESPN.



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