WAS IT PREVENTABLE?
We watched the clip of Indiana Pacers’ small forward Paul George‘s gruesome leg injury once … and that was enough for us.
The two-time NBA All-Star – who averaged 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season – suffered a compound fracture of both his tibia and fibula during a Team USA scrimmage on Friday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The injury – which put an abrupt end to the scrimmage – occurred during the fourth quarter as George was chasing Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden on a fast break. He caught his leg on the stanchion that supports the basket and it contorted in devastating fashion.
You can watch the clip of what happened HERE, but be warned … this is a graphic video on par with clips of the gruesome leg injury suffered by former University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore against the Tennessee Volunteers in 2012.
Again, we watched it once … and that was enough.
Indiana Pacers’ president Larry Bird said his organization was focused “solely on Paul and doing whatever we can to help.”
“Our first thoughts are with Paul and his family,” Bird said. “It is way too early to speculate on his return as the No. 1 priority for everyone will be his recovery. Our initial discussions with our doctors and the doctors in Las Vegas have us very optimistic. We are hopeful at some point next week Paul will return to Indianapolis to continue his recovery.”
Initial reports indicated the 24-year-old superstar would remain hospitalized for at least three days and that it would be at least six months before George would be able to put weight on his leg again.
It is likely to take even longer before he is able to resume basketball-related activities – meaning his entire 2014-15 season could be in jeopardy.
For his part, George is exuding plenty of confidence about his return – posting this message on his Twitter page:
Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I'll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y'all!! #YoungTrece
— Paul George (@Paul_George24) August 2, 2014
Almost immediately, George’s injury sparked a debate over the placement of the stanchion at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the stanchion was positioned “closer (to the court) than the normal NBA regulation should be.”
“From just eyeballing it that it may be a foot or two closer to the baseline than you’d normally have at an NBA arena,” Windhorst noted.
In a follow-up tweet accompanied by a photo (below), Windhorst referred to the stanchion as being “significantly closer” to the court.
Basket stanchions at Thomas & Mack Center appears to be significantly closer than NBA standard. pic.twitter.com/q0Nd5N847D
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 2, 2014
Obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to George, his family and friends. We wish him a speedy recovery from his injury – not unlike the recovery experienced by Louisville’s Kevin Ware in the wake of his own horrific leg injury last year.
A first-round pick out of Fresno State in 2010, the 6-foot-9, 220-pound Palmdale, California native has improved in each of his first four seasons in the NBA – leading the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals last season against the Miami Heat.