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Indiana’s star wingman Paul George missed 76 games in the 2014-2015 NBA season due to a gruesome injury he suffered while participating in a mini-camp for USA Basketball in the summer of 2014. He played in 6 games, however after sustaining a calf injury he was shut down for obvious precautionary reasons.

This season he returns to the unknown. What was supposed to be a rising team has been decimated by trades and free agency. The team that George led to the eastern conference finals in 2013 is only a fraction of itself. Lance Stephenson, Roy Hibbert and David West have all moved on to other teams, ending what could have been a long run of success.

There are many new faces on the roster, most notably Monta Ellis who was acquired from Dallas during the fee agency period.

George a traditional small forward has also been asked by coach Frank Vogel to take on a new role on the team at the power forward position. The NBA is trending toward the small line up so this move is a step in that direction. However the Pacers should use caution, asking George to defend traditional power-forwards while coming off such a gruesome injury could be risky. George has made it clear that he is not thrilled with this idea however he continues to say the right things by putting the needs of the team before his.

Pacers fans hope to see their superstar lead them to the playoffs while remaining healthy throughout the season. They can recall some of his incredible highlights. His performance in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, his huge dunk on Chris “Bridman” Anderson and his fast break 360 windmill dunk against the Clippers are glimpses of just how special he is. Before the injury George was an emerging superstar, he is young so he will have plenty of time to regain his prowess on the court. First he will have to deal with the mental blocks that come with returning to action after a major injury.

George now has to be the unquestioned leader for this team, both vocally and by his play on the court. He wants to be the MVP of the league this year, a tall task however he is ready to redefine his role on his team and in the league.



Photo Credit: Brent Smith Associated Press

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