Paul George could play within week

CLEVELAND -- The Indiana Pacers are targeting the next week for Paul George's season debut, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

The team was considering bringing back George as early as Saturday's home game against the Nets, but after the Pacers fell to the Cavs 95-92 on Friday night, coach Frank Vogel said George would not face Brooklyn.

A Pacers official said the team plans to update George's status Monday.

The Pacers repeatedly have refrained from publicly putting a timetable on George as he's progressed in his long recovery from a broken leg suffered in a Team USA intrasquad scrimmage in August.

George has been practicing for more than three weeks but still has a way to go to fully recover. During a scrimmage Thursday that was open to the media, George took part in full contact work but appeared to favor his leg at times while running.

Earlier this week, the Indianapolis Star quoted an unnamed Pacers teammate as saying George was "not even close to 100 percent." George has said if he does return this season, it would be with caution and to "get his feet wet" again, as he envisioned a full recovery by the start of next season.

After both team president Larry Bird and George expressed optimism that George would return this season, George pulled back on that sentiment recently, questioning whether his return might disrupt the team's rhythm.

But after going on a seven-game win streak that made George reconsider his plans, the Pacers entered Friday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on a three-game losing streak. They have fallen into a tie for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference heading into the weekend.

The Pacers also are in a crucial point in their schedule. They are in a stretch where the play seven of eight games against teams currently in playoff position. The only minor break in that stretch is on Saturday against the Nets, who are chasing the Pacers for the final playoff spot in the East.