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Bird hoping to see George back on floor before season’s end

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Larry Bird hopes Paul George can return to the game this season after breaking his leg in a gruesome accident last summer – perhaps as soon as next month.

The Pacers president of basketball operations told reporters Tuesday that if George is cleared by doctors and ready to play, he would like to see the two-time All-Star compete.

George hasn’t played since sustaining a compound fracture in his right leg on Aug. 1. Bird says he had been told a full recovery would take about seven months.

Coach Frank Vogel would not say how much work George is doing in practice but his activity has steadily increased. Vogel says getting into game shape and rhythm could add another month or two to the recovery process, but agreed with Bird’s assessment.