Indiana Pacers star Paul George gruesomely fractured his lower right leg during the USA national team’s intrasquad scrimmage at UNLV on Friday and underwent successful surgery later that evening. In a statement USA Basketball confirmed it was a open tibia-fibula fracture and he will have to remain hospitalized for three days. Doctors believe he will miss the entire NBA season although no official timeframe has been released to this point. George’s leg landed and buckled on the basket stanchion. Medics, US coach Mike Krzyzewski and George’s family members immediately ran to his side, his leg was put in a cast and was taken to a Las Vegas hospital. George later tweeted: Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I’ll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y’all!! #YoungTrece.
The Pacers issued a statement on the situation about George’s injury: “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,” President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said. “There is no question about the impact on our team but our goal is to be as strong-willed and determined as Paul will be in coming back. … Any discussion regarding the future of our team would be inappropriate at this time. Our focus is solely on Paul and doing whatever we can to help.”
“This is a tough blow, not only for USA basketball but for the Indiana Pacers,” USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said. “And so as an organization we’re just going to let a little time go by here before we address rosters. … It seems so unimportant in the scheme of things. When you have something like this, it puts things in perspective.”
The game was cancelled right after the injury “Everything’s on hold, and it should be,” Krzyzewski said. “It would be so inappropriate for us to talk about anything else when there is an injury like this.”
TWEETS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE
@KingJames: Man just landed and got a message about @Paul_George24. Made me immediately sick to my stomach!! Praying for u a speedy recovery homie!!!
@DwayneWade: Praying for @Paul_George24 for not only the player he is but the person he is. Injuries are thee toughest part of sports
@JHarden13: Prayers go out to @Paul_George24 and his family! Keep ya head up G!
@KDTrey5: God bless u my brother @Paul_George24. Im hurt, praying for you. Praying for peace. Praying that God heals you in a supernatural way.
@swish41: Just saw the terrible news on Paul George. Such a great young player. Hope to see him back on the court soon….
George, a 2-time all-star averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per game last year “It was difficult to watch the injury that Paul George sustained tonight while representing his country,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “The thoughts and prayers of all of us at the NBA are with Paul and his family.”
Meanwhile, Team USA has lost many key assets already including Forwards Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. “Anything can happen anywhere, a lot of things happen,” said Krzyzewski, who was coaching Duke against Louisville when the Kevin Ware broke his leg and the bone popped out 6 inches. “Tonight it happened during a basketball game. We need to take care of that. It doesn’t mean it’ll happen again and again and again; it means that it happened right now. And we need to take care of right now appropriately and then move on.”
Larry Bird agrees: “We still support USA Basketball and believe in the NBA’s goals of exposing our game, our teams and players worldwide,” Bird said. “This is an extremely unfortunate injury that occurred on a highly visible stage, but could also have occurred anytime, anywhere.”