Indiana Pacers forward Paul George suffered a horrific, season-ending injury Friday, during the fourth quarter of what had been a highlight-driven scrimmage. The action stopped immediately when George, who had challenged Houston Rockets guard James Harden at the basket, landed his right foot on the basket's support stanchion. The angle and force of the landing caused an immediate snap above George's ankle, or what's known as a tibia-fibula fracture.
George played for "Team Blue" during the scrimmage, along with Washington Wizards guard John Wall. On the other side, Wizards teammate Bradley Beal played for "Team White." Wall, and many of those on Washington's roster, were quick to wish George a speedy recovery.
Everybody pray for my bro @Paul_George24 and wish him a speedy recovery...Luv ya bro !!
(Wall, via Twitter)
According to reports, the basket's stanchion was set a good two feet closer to the court than normal NBA regulations allow, which may have or may not have resulted in George thinking there was more room underneath the basket where he could land. The NBA decided to blur their copy of the video, but you can find an uncensored version on YouTube. Warning: you will definitely cringe. Either way, this freak injury will surely write off the Thomas & Mack Center as a go to for USA Basketball.
Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I'll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y'all!! #YoungTrece
(George, via Twitter)
While George handled the pressure of the moment quite well (regardless of what seems to be a possible lawsuit in the making), Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose proved why George shouldn't worry all that much about his recent setback. After all, Rose suffered back-to-back tears in opposing knees, yet he looked great at the USA Basketball Showcase, displaying bounce, speed, and everything you'd expect from the former All-Star. It's a lot to swallow as a Pacers fan, but George should have a chance to return to form. The absence of George might also help strengthen the play of Roy Hibbert, who will need to focus his game this season following his dreadfully inconsistent postseason. In fact, the loss of George might be a blessing in disguise, as Hibbert will be required to pull more weight and thus adapt this season.
As for the rest of the league, George's injury opens the Eastern Conference even wider than before. The Bulls are sitting on a heap of talent despite a Summer League tweak suffered by rookie Doug McDermott, the Wizards are coming back with some strong pieces of their own, and the Cleveland Cavaliers look as if they will acquire Kevin Love to play alongside LeBron James. If Love does make the move, the Wizards will likely rank third in the East, and should have a great chance at an Eastern Conference Finals run.