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George to make Clippers debut against Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS – Paul George will officially make his Los Angeles Clippers’ debut Thursday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Coach Doc Rivers confirmed pregame that George, who has missed the team’s first 11 games as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, will suit up and play.

“He’s had two practices since April,” Rivers said. “We’re going to throw him out there and see what he can give us.”

George will be in a starting lineup that won’t have forward Kawhi Leonard or guard Patrick Beverley. Leonard is sitting out the second night of a back-to-back set, and Rivers added that this was a targeted rest day for Beverley.

Rivers also said George will not be on any set minutes restriction.

“It’s more visual,” he said. “We’re going to watch him, and if he shows any type of fatigue, he comes out. I just think we’re asking a lot of anybody to miss that much. He hasn’t played any full-court basketball.”

The Clippers acquired George in a blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason as part of their push to also sign Leonard as a free agent. George played 77 games last season and averaged a career-best 28 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He also tied his career mark with 4.1 assists per game.

He finished third in MVP voting and was selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team.

George will face a short-handed Pelicans team. New Orleans ruled out forward Brandon Ingram and center Jahlil Okafor in the pregame. Both had been listed as questionable. Ingram and Okafor join Zion Williamson (meniscus), Lonzo Ball (right adductor) and Josh Hart (ankle sprain, knee sprain) on the sidelines. New Orleans is already minus forward Darius Miller, out for the season with a torn Achilles.

New Orleans will have just 10 players available vs. the Clippers.

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