It was horrific.
During Team USA’s scrimmage on Friday night, Paul George attempted to block a James Harden dunk. His right leg was fully extended as he flew through the air. When he landed, his leg jammed against the stanchion and his knee crumpled. The gruesome video is here at the Toronto Sun. Check it out. Once is plenty.
The NBA fraternity erupted in immediate support. Players like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash comprised a giant list of players who offered their support via Twitter. DeMar DeRozan added his concern, tweeting:
Prayers go out to my bro @Paul_George24 & his family. Sad day!
— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) August 2, 2014
The scrimmage was immediately cancelled and planned cuts to the squad have been indefinitely postponed, as Team USA demonstrated class and respect for Paul George after his injury.
Paul George will likely miss an entire year. Kevin Ware of the Louisville Cardinals suffered a similarly devastating leg injury in March 2013 and required a full year’s recovery. He’s back playing now. George will make it back, too.
How Does This Affect the Toronto Raptors?
In the wake of this injury, I find it impossible to ignore the implications for the Raptors. DeRozan’s chances of sticking with Team USA are now stronger. That means his risk of suffering a major injury are stronger, too. For anything short of the Olympics – and even the Olympic Games come into question, honestly – how comfortable can teams and fans be with sideshow sporting events like FIBA Basketball World Cup that put players in a position to get injured?
Star players put their bodies at risk every time they play for their country. Heck, not even just their bodies. They put their livelihood at risk, too. A drawn-out or imperfect recovery could be disastrous for any player’s future NBA earnings. That’s a lot to ask.
I find myself hoping that DeRozan gets cut. An injury to the Raptors star would have huge (read: very, very bad) implications for himself and his team. But with George now injured, the chances of DeRozan making this team are stronger.
So is my feeling of dread.
What do you think, Raptors fans? Let us know in the comments section below.