Paul George opens up about injury recovery
What made George’s injury especially horrifying: It was seemingly preventable. And that will probably lead to changes in how NBA and NCAA courts are set up, an expert who’s worked on hundreds of courts told me. George got hurt after catching his leg on the stanchion holding up the hoop at Las Vegas’s Thomas & Mack Center, where Team USA held its Friday night scrimmage. That set up a terrible scenario where George jumped to make a routine play — but snapped his leg against the stanchion when he landed. Indiana Pacers forward Paul George spoke to the media Friday for the first time since suffering a gruesome leg fracture in a Team USA intra-squad scrimmage two weeks ago. George said he can begin rehabilitation next week but that a timeline for his return has not been determined. Reminds you of the Kevin Ware injury. Scary videos. Kevin Ware was having a relaxing evening at home in Atlanta on Friday night. He watched the first half of Team USA's scrimmage on ESPN before returning to the game in the fourth quarter. And then he wished he hadn't. Ware saw Indiana Pacers forward Paul George catch his right foot awkwardly in the basket stanchion while attempting to block a shot. He saw George's lower leg shatter. His mind began to race. "I never thought I would see something like that," the former Louisville guard said by phone on Saturday. "It was definitely some shock, and it sent chills through my body. I didn't even know what to do or what to think, so I just had to walk out of the room. I asked somebody, 'Did that just happen?' I was out of the room for 10 minutes like, 'Did that really happen?' And I saw him down on the stretcher and was just like, 'Oh, my God.'" George suffered compound fractures of his tibia and fibula bones in the exhibition game in Las Vegas, and he could miss all of next season. As Ware watched, he was instantly transported back to March 31, 2013, back to Indianapolis, back to the court in Louisville's NCAA regional final against Duke. On that day, Ware was the one on his back, staring blankly toward the ceiling after his leg had snapped in two from one fateful step. Ware said that if George's experience was like his, he was probably sensing no pain after the injury. There was too much adrenaline, too much confusion. Ware remembers feeling the medical staff quickly realign his leg, a quick jolt followed by an eerie peace. "But then my adrenaline calmed down, and it was just me in the ambulance, and I remember feeling even those little bumps in the road," said Ware, who transferred to Georgia State this summer. "I could feel all of that. Then for the next few days I was on so many pain medications that I didn't feel much." The morning after his injury, Ware woke up and was surrounded by his parents and his Louisville coaches. They had brought the NCAA regional championship trophy, and that made Ware smile. He remembers being asked what he wanted to eat. He asked for food from Hooters, even though it was 10 a.m. and the restaurant wasn't open yet.George underwent surgery on Saturday, and medical reports indicate the Indiana Pacers All-Star could miss all of next season to rehabilitate. The injury raises big questions for George’s career; a high-level return from an open tibia-fibula fracture, while certainly possible, is basically unprecedented in the NBA.