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“I thought I was invulnerable.” Exactly nine years ago, Paul George suffered the same injury.

Date: May 26, 2024 Time: 07:55:53

Exactly nine years ago, Paul George, then the rising star of Indiana and the US national team, suffered one of the worst injuries in basketball history. And, as unpleasant as it is to remember it, today we will give the player what he deserves. After all, they hardly talk about the fact that his career could have ended so suddenly that day.

August 1, 2014. A round trip match for the US team, which at that time was preparing to play the World Cup in Spain. Whites (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Damien Lillard, James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins) vs. Blues (Derrick Rose, John Wall, Stephen Curry, Paul George, Anthony Davis). This game was supposed to be the culmination of training camp, the big event, and that’s why it was televised.

George received a lot of attention. The year before, he had reached his first All-Star Game, after which he was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Season. Paul also received a maximum extension of five years and $90 million from Indiana, who believed he had a great future ahead of him.

“Paul George is gradually becoming the leader of the American team. The other day, he impressed Kevin Durant by going one-on-one with reigning MVP James Harden. Tonight, the team’s concentration concludes with the Blues vs. Whites match, in which all the invited players will gather before the squad is reduced to 12 people.

Everyone close to the team is impressed with George, and Team USA leaders including Jerry Colangelo and Coach Krzyzewski have seen PJ grow since he joined the national team in 2012. Something that would not have been particularly remarkable if it were not for the episode that took place in the last quarter.

André Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Chandler Parsons

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

9:33 until the final siren. George and his Blues lead by double digits (81:71), but the Whites suddenly manage to give James Harden a quick break. George chases after him, diving into the air in an attempt to block the layup and…kicking into shield stance. His foot hit the exact corner between her and the parquet. Under the player’s weight, his lower leg could not bear it, and he developed at 90 degrees.

George fell. For several minutes he remained silent under the basket, surrounded by the coaching staff of the US team. His leg was quickly covered with a towel so that what he was not used to showing on television would not be included in the television broadcast. George’s won fibula and tibia fracture was open.

You can view the video at your own risk at the link on YouTube.

A medical stretcher soon appeared on the site. The stands chanted George’s name as his worried teammates prayed for him. Insiders told how, after the incident, Kyrie Irving was moved and cried in the arms of his father. In addition, PJ’s own parents were also present at the arena that day, who eventually accompanied him to the hospital.

He was forced to undergo surgery: doctors installed a screw-fixed titanium rod into George’s leg, which will remain with him forever. “This is part of me,” he says a year later in an interview.

paul george

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

During that period, George was often questioned about everything that had happened. This is how he recalled the events of that day:

“I didn’t block, I didn’t reach the ball. And then I fell. And it was just awkward. I didn’t feel anything, but I couldn’t put my foot down. I thought: “Why can’t I get up?” And then I saw my bone. As soon as I saw the bone, I was lost. And just lying down.

The pain was strong. As soon as the air touched the bone where the open wound was, pain shot through my entire body. Everything around him slowed down. It was as if he could hear the voice of every person in the arena.

I thought I was immortal. Invulnerable. I fell so many times, but I always came out of the water clean. I really felt that nothing bad would ever happen to me on set.”

Lillard, Harden, Cousins, Farid and Chandler on Team USA.

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

That injury was a real shock to the basketball world. There was a lot of talk about how George’s career would continue, if anything. He didn’t particularly believe in the fact that he would return to the previous level; some even suggested that Paul would remain a role player forever.

He was supposed to miss the 2014/2015 season altogether, but he took a serious approach to recovery and already on February 26, 2015 he had his first training session with Indiana. George returned to the court eight months after the injury, on April 5, 2015 in the regular season game with Miami.

“It’s almost like being drafted again. Or how to get back on the court for the first time. The fans want to see their new player, it’s the same feeling.

I don’t want them to think they’re getting a 40-50 Paul George. But I’m showing glimpses of what Paul George was like and working on a future version of myself. And this, I hope, is a much better Paul George than the one the fans loved. You just need to take this small step and move on,” the player said then.

And the same Paul George, earning 40 points, could already be observed in the 2015/2016 season, the first full one after its restoration. In it, PJ performed even better than before the injury. He played in 81 games, averaging 23.1 points each, which was the best result of his career at the time, along with seven rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals.

A year later, George left Indiana. He was optioned to Oklahoma, where he spent the peak 2018/2019 season and even placed third in MVP voting. After that, PJ requested a trade from the Thunder and ended up with the Clippers, where he had the opportunity to play on the same team as Kawhi Leonard, also in his native California.

Yes, since then he has never played more than 56 games in a season. Because? There are several theories, from age to the Clippers’ handling of the load, but none are related to that terrible injury in 2014.

And from the moment George received it:

became an Olympic champion in the US team (2016); he reached the All-Star Game six times (2016–2019, 2021, 2023); he got into the first symbolic five of the NBA (2019); he was included in the third symbolic five three times (2016, 2018, 2021); got into first (2019) and second (2016) defensive fives; became the NBA season leader in steals (2019).

What is happening with George now and what awaits him in the future is a topic for a separate discussion. Well, how he exceeded all expectations and reached his own peak after that serious injury is history. And with a happy ending.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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