After suffering a brutal leg fracture in the offseason in 2014 in the lead up to Team USA’s performance in the FIBA World Cup, it appeared as though that Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George would be forced to miss the entirety of the 2014-2015 season.

Now, however, Pacers President, former Boston Celtic and NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird, seems optimistic that Paul George may be able to return this season, even as soon as next month.

“It seems like every week Paul is getting better and better,” Bird said. “So if we do have an opportunity to get into the playoffs and [George] can get some games under his belt and get ready to go next year … I always say if a player is ready to play, they gotta play.

“We’re not going to hold him back if he’s able to go out there and play. When you’re out like that, you lose something. … I still think it’s important if he’s able to play, he should be out there.”

Bird has stated that if George is cleared to play by the doctors this season, Bird would like to play him at least some in order to ensure he gets some reps before resuming his full time duties in 2015-2016 season.

Paul George has steadily been increasing his activity in practice and seems to be targeting a March return as well.

In the absence of George this season, the Pacers have struggled mightily. George is far and away the best player on the Pacers roster, and without his performance on offense and defense, the Pacers have only managed to play to a 17-32 record, dead last in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference of the NBA.

While even if George returns to the court this season, the Pacers will certainly almost not be in playoff contention with how late George may return.

Either way, the Pacers would be excited to see Paul George back on the court.