There's not much worse than a season-ending injury. But there's something especially cruel about a season-ending injury that occurs nearly three months before the season begins. That is the unfortunate case of Paul George.
The Indiana Pacers star could be out of action for 12 to 18 months, as Dr. Patrick Kersey told the Associated Press (via NBA.com), after suffering compound tibia-fibula fracture during a U.S. national team scrimmage in preparation for the World Cup of Basketball.
For a Pacers team that was coming into the season as one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference—especially after LeBron James left the Miami Heat—the injury is devastating.
And for George, one of the top stars in the league, the injury was equally heartbreaking. Publicly, however, he's remained positive.
Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I'll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y'all!! #YoungTrece— Paul George (@Paul_George24) August 2, 2014
It has likely helped that he's had some high-profile visitors come to see him in the hospital, including United States coach Mike Krzyzewski, per ESPN's Jay Williams:
This is the amazing man Coach K is. Been there. Coaching beyond basketball. pic.twitter.com/GQQfEyEdM4"— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) August 3, 2014
Boxer Floyd Mayweather also dropped in to show his support.
Many of the NBA's stars also shared messages of love and support for George. Kobe Bryant took to Twitter:
And James shared the following on Instagram, writing, "Hurt my stomach the moment I heard the news! I didn't want to believe it. Man I need u out there bro! Get well and have a speedy recovery PG24! #DamnIt #YoungKing #StriveForGreatness."
The show of support for Paul has been widespread. George now almost assuredly won't play this season, a truly disappointing outcome for a player who was developing into an MVP-caliber talent.
Indiana will also inevitably suffer because of this injury. Check out the following from ESPN Stats & Info:
Indiana’s odds to win the Pro Basketball Championship moved from 20-1 on July 28 to 60-1 after Paul George was injured.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 2, 2014
The hope will be that his recovery goes smoothly and that he'll be able to return to the court and be as effective of a player as he was before the injury. Nothing would be more devastating than seeing such a promising career stymied by such a freak injury.
Fortunately for George, he seems to have plenty of support to help him pull through this difficult situation. Based on the visitors who have already gone to see him and the messages he has received, it's clear the sports world as a whole is wishing George a speedy recovery.