Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard tells Bob Kravitz of USA Today that he first thought Paul George‘s horrific leg injury would be career-ending when he saw it live at last night’s Team USA scrimmage, but has since grown confident in George’s eventual return.
“What I’ve learned through this process is that it’s not [career-ending],” said Pritchard. “We’re not trying to project when he’s coming back, just trying to get him through this week and then we’ll know more…I have no fear he’ll be back and back in a big way. We’re not going to put a timetable on it but I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll be back.”
Aside from concerns about George’s long-term health and the impact for his team, the injury has sparked an NBA discussion about the drawbacks of international play. Here’s a rundown:
- George’s father tells Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star that his doctors believe the star will make a full recovery to the same level of athleticism he had prior to the injury.
- The NBA is determined to reshape the FIBA model to its own interests, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes. Wojnarowski says teams have long been more wary of NBA players participating on national teams outside of the US, where they have no control over the conditions and medical services available. Aging players are also pressured to play more for other nations with thinner talent than Team USA, Wojnarowski notes.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes it’s time for the NBA to push for an under-21 international competition model, he writes on his personal blog (H/T Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group).
- Lee Jenkins of SI.com cautions that a ban on international competition for NBA players would also mean unregulated summer basketball at fan-favorite events like Drew League would be outlawed.
- Frank Isola of New York Daily News thinks that a mass exodus of NBA players from international competition would be an overreaction to George’s “freak accident,” as he describes it. Isola suggests that athletes are no more safe from harm during their off-the-court summer activities than in FIBA tournaments and the Olympics.
- Bulls GM Gar Forman told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that the team still supports Derrick Rose‘s involvement in Team USA basketball in the wake of George’s injury. Rose has a well-documented history of catastrophic injuries over the last few seasons.