George returns for Clippers vs Utah after missing 3 months

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George returned to the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night after missing three months with an elbow injury.

He had eight points, four assists and one rebound playing 14 minutes in the first half against the Utah Jazz. George missed his first three shots before hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter. The Clippers trailed 61-48 at the break.

The All-Star guard hasn’t played since Dec. 22. George had been rehabbing a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and two steals in 26 games.

“It’s going to take some time to get back in the rhythm he was in earlier this season,” coach Tyronn Lue said before the game. “With seven games left in the season, he could have called it quits, but he wants to play.”

The Clippers are 36-39 and in eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

The team is still hopeful that guard Norman Powell will return before the playoffs begin next month. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played all season as he rehabs from ACL surgery.

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