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Paul George a game-day decision

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has declared himself "symptom-free" after suffering a concussion, but he still must be cleared and will be a game-day decision on Saturday, coach Frank Vogel said Friday.

George told reporters that although he's been "symptom-free" for two days and would like to guarantee that he'll play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), he'll need to have more tests and get rest before he can be cleared.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1.

The two-time All-Star wore a red jersey and was limited to noncontact drills at Thursday's practice. He was injured in a collision with Miami's Dwyane Wade midway through the fourth quarter of Game 2, which was won by the Heat 87-83 in Indianapolis.

After the game, George told reporters he "blacked out" and had blurred vision after he was hit in the back of his head by Wade's knee -- descriptions team doctors said they were unaware of when George returned to the court.

Based on those descriptions and further examination Wednesday, team doctors said George would be subject to the league's concussion protocol.

"There is a minimal contact requirement that he's got to do and be tested afterward," Vogel said, referring to NBA rules governing medical clearance.

George took shots Thursday and made a dunk before leaving the court. He was not available to reporters after practice.

Vogel made it clear that George did light work only and that he wasn't sure whether the Pacers would have their top scorer for Game 3 -- or even who he would put in the starting lineup if George couldn't play. In fact, Vogel said, he might not know that answer until Saturday.

"We are preparing for both [possibilities]," Vogel said. "I think we have guys that can fill in. Certainly not play at Paul's level, but we would have to adjust the end result at the time, and I'm sure we will be able to do that."

The NBA's concussion policy states that once a player is diagnosed, he needs to be "held out of all activity until he is symptom-free at rest" and until neurological signs return to normal. George will have to go through tests of increasing exertion before being cleared.

The Pacers star remained facedown after a play that resembled more of a football tackle than a scramble for a loose ball. Wade also remained down before limping to the Heat's bench.

George's teammates said they never imagined he had a head injury.

"I know he fell. I thought he hit his face, but like I said he was cool," power forward David West said. "I didn't know he was hurt."

Following a timeout, George and Wade both returned to the floor and finished the game. That prompted questions about whether Pacers doctors should have been more cautious with George and whether players are honest with team doctors in similar situations.

The NBA said the Pacers followed league policy.

Point guard George Hill went through a similar experience in last year's East semifinals against New York, missing Game 5 before returning for Game 6. Hill said he believes that George's return to practice, albeit limited, was an "encouraging" sign that George might play Saturday.

Hill said the toughest tests he had to pass were on the treadmill and on the court.

But he doesn't believe George provided incorrect information to the doctors so he could continue to play.

"He was honest at the time, he didn't feel anything until after, and I think in that case your adrenaline is pushing so high that you just don't really realize until you actually sit down," Hill said. "I think he was very honest as to how he felt. I think our training staff did a great job asking questions."

George is averaging 21.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists during the playoffs while rarely leaving the court, averaging a team-high 41.3 minutes per game.

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The Indiana Pacers discuss Paul George's availability for Game 3 against the Heat.

George Diagnosed With Concussion
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Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon discuss the news that Paul George was diagnosed with a concussion Wednesday just hours after he took a hit to the head from Dwyane Wade during Game 2
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sports espn george concussion nba pacers indiana pacers injury playoffs paul george
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