Indiana Pacers forward Paul George suffered a severe leg injury Friday night while playing in an inter-squad scrimmage game for Team USA in Las Vegas. George underwent successful surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Las Vegas to repair a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN that George is likely to miss all of the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season due to the injury. Despite the early prognosis being dim, the all-star forward sent a positive message via Twitter to those concerned with his health.
“Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I'll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y'all!!”
The horrific injury, which occurred early in the fourth quarter of the game, left many of the players on the court in shock. George was attempting to block a layup by James Harden and his foot got stuck in the base of the basket stanchion when he landed. The awkward landing forced his right leg to bend in a different direction from his foot.
George was treated by paramedics for 15 minutes on the court while his Team USA teammates looked on, many of them distraught over the incident. USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski immediately called the game off out of respect for George and his family. Many onlookers are blaming the injury on the lack of space between the the basket stanchion and the court at the Thomas & Mack Center. In most NBA arenas there is significant room in this out of bounds area.
The Indiana Pacers issued a statement late Friday night expressing support for their star player.
"We are aware of the injury sustained by Paul George in Friday night's Team USA game in Las Vegas and we are obviously greatly concerned," president of basketball operations Larry Bird said. "At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Paul. We are still gathering details and will have an updated statement Saturday."
Further reaction to George’s injury came from fellow NBA stars like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
"Man just landed and got a message about @Paul_George24. Made me immediately sick to my stomach!! Praying for u a speedy recovery homie!!!" James wrote on Twitter.
Wade also expressed his sympathy via Twitter. "Praying for @Paul_George24 for not only the player he is but the person he is. Injuries are thee toughest part of sports."
The USA Basketball team is not scheduled to play another game until their August 16 scrimmage against Brazil. There will certainly be much discussion about player safety between now and then.
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(Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today Sports / Reuters)