The NBA has had a busy offseason, yet the roughest thing it has gone through is the Donald Sterling ordeal. Even that is finally on the verge of a happy ending, despite all the ugliness that has come from it. However, something truly horrific occurred on August 1, as Paul George's scrimmage with Team USA's World Cup squad ended with one of the worst injuries in recent memory.
In a play that brought back gruesome images of Kevin Ware's broken leg in the 2013 Elite Eight, and of Joe Theismann's career ending injury, George's right leg collided and broke against the backboard stanchion while defending James Harden. Before that, George, Harden and the rest of Team USA were enjoying a scrimmage and putting on a show for fans at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
This was supposed to be a showcase for the U.S. before it plays the FIBA World Cup at the end of the month, in an effort to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Instead, George suffered to the point where he will not only miss the World Cup, but may miss at least the next NBA season for the Indiana Pacers, if not the next two.
George did undergo successful surgery on his right leg, according to the Associated Press. He will remain at the hospital for the next three days, but his rehabilitation process will take much longer than that.
This is the ugliest basketball injury since Ware broke his leg 17 months ago, yet he returned months later to play nine games for the Louisville Cardinals the next season, before transferring to Georgia State. Coming back even for that limited time period would be the best case scenario for George and the Pacers, although he likely wouldn't be back at full strength until sometime in the 2015-16 season.
From a shallow perspective, this injury is yet another blow to the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers couldn't overtake the Miami Heat with a healthy George, and now their hopes to succeed the Heat and hold off the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls have taken a drastic blow. However, those implications will be a topic of real conversation for another day.