The horrific injury that Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George suffered Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas will be a lasting image in the minds of many NBA players, team owners, and those in management. George, who suffered an open tibia-fibula fracture in a freak accident that showed his leg bending in a way that shouldn’t be possible, faces a long road to recovery, but hopefully fans will see him playing basketball as soon as possible. But how will this affect other stars and their decisions to play on Team USA?
Already, many of the top players in the sport, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul opted out of playing, but there are a lot of stars like George, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and others who chose to play for their country. Will the list of star players who suit up for Team USA become even smaller?
If I were a Chicago Bulls fan, I wouldn’t want Rose playing on the team with the two injuries he suffered in the last two seasons that enabled him to play in only 10 regular season games out of a possible 164. As a New Yorker, I have already heard numerous Knicks fans say they are glad that Carmelo Anthony, the superstar who just re-signed with the team, isn’t playing on Team USA. Wouldn’t surprise me if Knicks owner James Dolan was thinking the same.
While George will have a difficult road back to recovery from the brutal injury he suffered, hopefully he is back on the court soon. But will the lasting image of his injury lead NBA owners to prohibit stars from playing on Team USA, or discourage the stars themselves from playing for their country? Only time will tell, but the injury certainly can’t help.