Paul George is hopeful of returning this season though he remains uncertain it will actually happen.
"I always talk to Larry (Bird) about the situation. He always tells me how bad I look, being out there, so for him saying March, I was just playing off that," said George, referring to a one-word tweet "March?!" he sent out after Bird's comments Tuesday.
"Ideally, that's a great time where I want to be there. I'm obviously a long ways away from it because I've got so many steps that I've got to take. But that's when I want to be back."
George had not taken questions since late November, when he was just doing some light shooting work.
Team doctors told the Pacers it would take seven months for George's injured leg to heal completely, making a return in March plausible.
George's activity has picked up. He is participating in some one-on-one drills and has increased his shooting tempo at practice. George went even further Thursday by saying he is able to do everything except contact work. He hopes that changes in the next several weeks.
"At that time [March 1], I'd like to be full-on practicing with no limitations, going out and being incorporated in all of our practice sessions and doing it through the whole duration of practice instead of just spot minutes and getting thrown into the mix," George said.