Late in his career, you might recall Spurs veteran Tim Duncan being listed with the unusual injury designation, “DNP – Old.” That’s a high bar to clear for weirdness, though the strange circumstances that precipitated Paul George’s absence against the Wizards last week might have the Big Fundamental beat.
George wasn’t in uniform for Thursday night’s game in Washington with the Clippers citing “dizziness” as the culprit. However, there was more to that story than Los Angeles had initially let on, as George explained to reporters at Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta. “I had too much caffeine,” the veteran admitted. “It made me reel jittery and sped me up.”
The 30-year-old All-Star wouldn’t elaborate on what caffeine he consumed (coffee, soda and energy drinks stand as the most likely suspects), though he did describe Thursday’s mishap as a learning experience. Exhausted from the Clippers’ five-game road trip featuring stops in Memphis, Milwaukee, Boston and D.C., George’s reliance on caffeine to keep himself energized is understandable.
Players, including LeBron James and James Harden (neither of whom were thrilled to be participating in Sunday’s All-Star Game), have complained of being unusually run down from the NBA’s condensed schedule this year. Having just 73 days to recover from last season, which ended in mid-October, probably hasn’t helped any. James begrudgingly suited up for Sunday’s exhibition but only logged 13 minutes, the second-fewest of any player.
Excessive caffeine intake has plagued dozens of athletes over the years including Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, who was forced to kick his pre-game coffee habit after needing an IV to combat cramps during the 2015 NBA Finals. Seemingly recovered from Thursday’s jitters, George played without restrictions Sunday, contributing 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting including 5-of-7 from long distance in Team LeBron’s 170-150 rout of Team Durant.