Could Paul George return this season? Larry Bird leaves the door open

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 3, 2015) - Could Paul George return this season for the Indiana Pacers?

Team president Larry Bird is leaving the door open.

While meeting with the media Tuesday, Bird discussed George’s health and other issues surrounding the team.

George suffered a horrific leg injury in August, and the team has moved forward as if he'd miss the entire season. Bird suggested Tuesday that the Pacers star could play this season as long as he's healthy.

“If he gets healthy and they say he can play and he wants to play, we’ll let him play,” Bird said. "We're not going to hold him back if he's able to play go out there and play. When you're out like that, you lose something. He's going to get beat up, he's gonna get knocked around. He's not going to look good, but I still think it's important if he can play, he should be out there."

Doctors told the team that George would be healed seven months from the injury.

“That will be in March and we’ll go from there,” Bird said. "I have no clue whether he's going to play or not."

Coach Frank Vogel said the team would proceed as if George wouldn't return.

"Our mindset is that we're not going to have him available this year and we've got to become a great team with who we have," Vogel said. "Safe to play and game shape and game rhythm are totally different things that could add a month or two to the timeline."

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