“It was difficult to watch the injury that Paul George sustained,” Adam Silver, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, said in a statement released on Saturday, echoing sentiments felt by spectators, coaches, and players alike.
The Pacers' All-Star’s injury, which occurred during Team USA’s exhibition game in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center Friday night, happened when George leaped to contest a fast-break lay-up by James Harden in the fourth quarter and smashed his leg against the bottom of the backboard stanchion.
Yahoo! Sports reports that he underwent successful surgery to repair the open tibia-fibula fracture at Sunrise Hospital, and that Dr. David Silverberg, Dr. Joseph Yu, and USA Basketball team physician Riley Williams were present for the surgery.
Doctors estimate that a full recovery could take as long as 18 months, which would sideline George for the 2014-2015 NBA season.
George’s injury has caused widespread reaction around the NBA community, with players tweeting their support for the Pacers' All-Star and many questioning the validity of NBA stars playing for Team USA during the off-season.
Team USA head coach Mike Krzyewski said, “Anything can happen anywhere, a lot of things happen. Tonight it happened during a basketball game. We need to take care of that. It doesn't mean it'll happen again and again and again; it means that it happened right now.”
Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird released a statement saying, “Our first thoughts are with Paul and his family. It is way too early to speculate on his return as the No. 1 priority for everyone will be his recovery. Our initial discussions with our doctors and the doctors in Las Vegas have us very optimistic. We are hopeful at some point next week Paul will return to Indianapolis to continue his recovery.
“We still support USA Basketball and believe in the NBA's goals of exposing our game, our teams and players worldwide. This is an extremely unfortunate injury that occurred on a highly-visible stage, but could also have occurred anytime, anywhere.”
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