Horrific news for Paul George, the Indiana Pacers, Team USA, and the entirety of the NBA as George suffers a serious leg injury. Team USA practice ended tonight following George’s collision with the basket stanchion. Chasing down James Harden and fouling him on a layup, George caught a lot of air and landed awkwardly on the unforgiving stanchion. The result was an unnatural and gruesome twist of his leg. Harden immediately reacted and came to the aid of George as he writhed in pain on the baseline. An air cast was applied to his lower right leg following extensive treatment on the court.
Currently, the Pacers’ star small forward is being treated In Las Vegas. Team USA sources say that he will undergo special surgery as soon as possible. Without having to say it directly, George was a practical certainty to make the 12 man Team USA roster; Jerry Colangelo has hinted at that fact since the incident. Clearly, George will be unable to perform in the FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer given this horrific turn of events.
As strange as it may sound, George’s injury may have been the consequence of poorly positioned equipment and human error on the part of the Team USA support staff. Looking at the video of the incident, it appears that the stanchion was too close to the basket. The positioning thereby impacted the super athletic George’s ability to land on the hardwood. Suddenly, a routine play that the forward makes in nearly every Team USA scrimmage became a massive fiasco that could cost the Pacers their star talent.
Larry Bird is highly concerned over this disastrous injury to his best player. The severity of the injury that George sustained foreshadows major struggles for the Pacers in the upcoming season. After letting Lance Stephenson join the Hornets, the management in Indiana is left with a shell of a team without George. This leaves one to wonder what the organization will have to do as far as damage control. One likely scenario would be the addition of SF Shawn Marion; while Marion is no George, he has much to offer in the way of defense, hustle, and experience. Whatever happens, it should be expected that the Pacers front office will begin their search for a replacement for George in the coming days.
Myriad tweets from his fellow NBA players wishing him a speedy recovery and offerings of prayer have spilled forth in the wake of George’s unfortunate accident. One encouraging message came from Lakers’ veteran point guard, Steve Nash. Nash wrote, “sick to my stomach for Paul George.” “He’s tough as nails; he will be back in a big way.” Only time will tell whether or not Nash’s kindhearted sentiment will hold true. In recent years, the NBA has seen more than a few career altering injuries; yet none as senseless and shocking as what happened to George today in Las Vegas.