LA Clippers president unsure if either Paul George, Kawhi Leonard return this season

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Before the LA Clippers began their practice Saturday morning, Paul George was on one end of the gym taking shots with his left hand.

The star guard has been out since Dec. 22 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right shooting elbow, missing 22 straight games. He will undergo an MRI on Feb. 24 to see how his elbow has responded to the time off, but president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said it would not be the sole determining factor in whether George is able to play again this season.

"You don't treat the MRI, you treat the player," Frank said. "So when the MRI comes in, it's not a 'boom' that all of a sudden is a 'Eureka' moment for what we do. I think it's just part of the process.

"I think it's you see how Paul is responding. He's feeling better each and every day. The MRI is another kind of benchmark. ... I think the doctors put it all together and that's how they come to what the next steps are. My expectation is regardless of what the MRI says, it's just part of it. That's not going to be the ultimate decision-maker in what happens."

The Clippers also don't know if star forward Kawhi Leonard will be back this season. He is currently rehabbing a torn right ACL suffered last June.

"I think the best answer is we don't know," Frank said. "He grinds every single day. He works. His focus is on his rehab. ... No one knows. He doesn't know. But all you can do is, just every day, continue to control what you can control and see how he responds."

Coach Ty Lue on Thursday said the Clippers "know Kawhi's probably not gonna come back," but he elaborated that he wasn't a doctor and didn't know anything for certain.

"Hope is stronger than fear," Lue said. "So I'm hoping that these two guys can come back. But you never know."