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Paul George Injury: Latest Reports and Comments Surrounding Pacers Star

Indiana Pacers' Paul George is taken off the court after he was injured during the USA Basketball Showcase game Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2014

After suffering a gruesome leg injury during Friday night's USA basketball intrasquad scrimmage, Indiana Pacers star Paul George underwent surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2014-15 season.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports was among the first to report the news of George's prognosis:

The injury occurred during the fourth quarter of the Blue vs. White game in preparation of the FIBA World Cup when George attempted to block a shot by Houston Rockets guard James Harden. George's foot unluckily got caught under the stanchion at the bottom of the basket, which caused his leg to bend in an unnatural and horrifying way.

Following George's injury, the game was cut short as George's teammates and coaches were clearly rattled by the situation.

According to ESPN's Mark Jones, George's injuries were specifically compound fractures of both the tibia and the fibula in his right leg:

With the surgery now completed, Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star is reporting that George will remain hospitalized for a couple more days:

One can only assume that George is devastated by the injury and the news that he is expected to miss a significant amount of time. Even so, he has remained optimistic.

As seen in this tweet from George just two hours after suffering the injury, he is confident that he will bounce back eventually:

Jimmy Spencer of Fox Sports is among those who echoed that sentiment as he pointed toward the quality traits that George has on his side:

According to Buckner, Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard also has all the confidence in the world that George will do everything in his power to recover and return to elite form.

The biggest thing is this, the one thing we're just in awe of is No. 1 how strong Paul is. I don't think anybody left there before he went into surgery thinking this kid is done. This kid is coming back better. And No. 2 was the outreach has been off the charts. He's talked to all the major players in our league and that was amazing to see and hear.

For as bad as the injury looked, there may still be a glimmer of hope for George as it relates to the upcoming season. While it is likely that George will miss the entirety of the upcoming campaign, ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reports that it isn't guaranteed:

Even if George does miraculously return to action at some point next season, this is obviously devastating for the Pacers. They have lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past two seasons, but they will be hard-pressed to make it back to that point this year.

Indiana already lost shooting guard Lance Stephenson to the Charlotte Hornets in free agency and didn't sufficiently replace him. Now, they will be without a player who averaged nearly 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game last season in the form of George.

It is likely that all of George's Pacers teammates are taken aback by the incident, and that includes center Roy Hibbert:

As a two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA Third Team selection and an NBA All-Defensive First Team choice, George is an indispensable player who is simply impossible to replace.

Not surprisingly, this injury has already sparked debate regarding the use of NBA players in international competition. The Pacers now know firsthand what it is like to lose a superstar because of it, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports believes it could cause the most powerful people in the league to take a stand:

Although that would be a highly unfortunate situation for fans who love to see the world's best players clash on the international stage, it is tough to blame league executives for feeling that way.

George is arguably among the NBA's five best players, so being without him for all of 2014-15 will definitely hurt the league to some degree in terms of marketing.

This type of situation is the worst nightmare that franchises have when they let a player compete internationally. Nobody else wants to experience what Indiana is going through, so the expectation is certainly that there will be some type of reform.

While all kinds of politicking will come from this incident, the truly important thing is George's health and well-being.

He has a long road to recovery ahead of him, but he already seems to have the right attitude, and he definitely has the drive needed to get past this momentary setback.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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