Paul George's brief stint with Team USA was cut short long before he could contribute to the club's FIBA World Cup competition in Spain.
"I plan on making a full recovery," George recently told reporters. "It will make me stronger."
He added, "I would love to play this year. I know there's a possibility that I won't be back this year, I'm aware of that."
The setback couldn't have come at a worse time for the rising star, especially as his Indiana Pacers attempt to improve upon their recent postseason performances with a legitimate title push. George has established himself as a brilliant all-around two-way player, even garnering some MVP consideration during the early stages of the 2013-14 campaign.
In December of last season, ESPN Stats and Info's Sunny Saini noted, "The NBA MVP award has been given to the player on a team that finished with the best record 58 percent of the time since 1990 and in four of the past five seasons. If George continues to lead the Pacers to a No. 1 seed, he could become the first Pacers player to win the NBA MVP award."
The IndyStar's Candace Buckner later ranked George as the league's fourth-best player in February, writing, "The next big player in the NBA is no doubt Paul George."
With George sidelined, who replaces him as the next big thing in the interim?