Pacers, US star George suffers major leg injury
Paul George of the 2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team is tended to as he lies on the court after badly injuring his leg defending a play during a USA Basketball showcase match at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 1, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada - by Ethan Miller
The injury was bad enough that the exhibition before fans at the Thomas and Mack Center was immediately halted and George was quickly hospitalized.
The Pacers small forward landed hard and his leg buckled horribly near the basket stanchion after he had fouled James Harden on a drive early in the fourth quarter of the contest.
Harden immediately doubled over in shock upon seeing the injury to his US team-mate and medical personnel, US coach Mike Krzyzewski and members of George's family attending the game moved to comfort the stricken player.
After George had been taken from the court with his leg in a splint, Krzyzewski announced that the contest would be halted.
"With the serious injury that we had and the fact that we stopped playing for a long period of time, and out of respect for Paul and his family, the scrimmage is done," he told the crowd.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo did not immediately confirm the exact nature of the injury, but just said the organization's only concern at the moment was for the player.
"This is a very tough blow," a grim-faced Colangelo said at a news conference. "It's a first for us in USA basketball to have something like this take place.
"It's a tough situation for our entire organization, our coaches and players are very, very emotional. There's no way the game could have gone on under the circumstances."
Colangelo said decisions about the final US selection for the Basketball World Cup, to be held in Spain on August 30-September 14, would take a back seat to making sure George was cared for properly.
"Our first concern, our primary concern, is Paul George," he said. "I want to reach out to the Indiana Pacers organization. I have a call in to owner Herb Simon. This is a tough blow, not only for USA Basketball but for the Indiana Pacers.
"And so, as an organization, we're just going to let a little bit of time go by here before we address rosters or any of that stuff. It seems unimportant."
George, 24, has been an All-Star each of the last two years. He averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 80 games last season for the Pacers, who lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.
- 'Thoughts and prayers with Paul' -
Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said the team was monitoring the situation.
"We are aware of the injury sustained by Paul George in Friday Night's Team USA game in Las Vegas and we are obviously greatly concerned," Bird said in a statement.
"At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Paul. We are still gathering details and will have an updated statement Saturday."
Players on the court with George were visibly shaken and none of them spoke to the media.
However, Houston Rockets guard Harden was among George's NBA colleagues to use Twitter to wish the injured player well.
"Prayers go out to Paul George and his family!" Harden tweeted. "Keep ya head up G!"