<
>

OKC's George (shoulder) expects to play Sunday

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George is officially listed as "day-to-day" with right shoulder soreness, and head coach Billy Donovan is unwilling to speculate on George's availability for Game 1 on Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers. But George indicated Friday that regardless of pain, he will be playing.

"It's playoff time, so it's more than this, it's about being out there with my guys," George said. "As much as I can get it a hundred as possible, or close to it, you can expect me out there Sunday."

George sat out the Thunder's regular-season finale on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks after going through a pregame workout and determining the pain was too much to play through. The Thunder practiced Friday, though it was more of a "mental" practice, Donovan said, without much contact for any player.

George has been dealing with soreness in both shoulders for some time now. The original right shoulder soreness began after he took a hit against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 26. He sat the Thunder's next three games, then returned but took contact on his left side in a game and experienced similar soreness. He was listed as questionable because of left shoulder soreness on March 29 against the Nuggets, but decided to play. He's been keeping heat on his left shoulder during timeouts during games and receiving treatment for both sides.

"Making progress," George said of his right shoulder. "Every day try and get it better and better. And we'll see where we're at come Sunday."

George said recently that the shoulder issues are about taking contact in the wrong spot and it aggravates the injury.

"I'm good," George said after the game on March 29. "Throughout the game, all it takes is one hit and it gets sore, but if I don't get hit in that spot then we're good."

George played through a series of injuries during the postseason last year, having offseason surgery on his left knee and 18-20 ounces of blood drained from his right elbow due to bursitis.