After dropping Game 2 and on their way to South Beach, the Indiana Pacers need good news. And that’s precisely what they received Thursday night.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported there’s “an increasing confidence” within the Pacers organization that Paul George will meet the benchmarks of the NBA’s concussion protocol in advance of Saturday’s Game 3 in Miami.
There’s an increasing confidence around Pacers that Paul George will meet benchmarks of NBA’s concussion protocol before Game 3 on Saturday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 23, 2014
George was injured when Dwyane Wade‘s leg hit him during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, and he claimed he blacked out and played the remainder of the game with blurred vision. He finished with 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
George participated in the non-contact portion of practice Thursday and came away free of any concussion symptoms. He’s expected to see an increased workload practice Friday in advance of Saturday night’s game.
The league-mandated protocol for a “return to play” following a concussion includes the following testing:
Once a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he is then held out of all activity until he is symptom-free at rest and until he has no appreciable difference from his baseline neurological exam and his baseline score on the computerized cognitive assessment test.
The concussed player may not return to participation until he is asymptomatic at rest and has successfully completed the NBA concussion return-to-participation exertion protocol.
The return-to-participation protocol involves several steps of increasing exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.
With each step, a player must be symptom-free to move to the next step. If a player is not symptom-free after a step, he stops until he is symptom-free and begins again at the previous step of the protocol (i.e., the last step he passed without any symptoms).
George already bypassed the first step Thursday. How he feels after Friday’s practice will likely be a determining factor if he suits up Saturday.