The return of Paul George might come earlier than most of the basketball world – and George himself – expected.

Although reports earlier this week said the Pacers star was unlikely to play this season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Friday the team could have him back on the floor as soon as Saturday's home game against the Nets.

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Going into Friday night's NBA action, the Pacers are tied with Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The return of the team's franchise player, even after a long layoff, could be instrumental in getting Indiana into the postseason.

George has not played since August 1, when he suffered a gruesome leg injury in a pre-FIBA World Cup friendly for Team USA. He made his return to practice late last month for the Pacers and recently said he would be at Team USA's camp this summer.