If anyone know what lies ahead for Paul George as he recovers from the gruesome open, lower-leg fracture he suffered Friday night, it’s Kevin Ware.
Ware suffered a similar injury when he was playing for Louisville in the 2013 NCAA tournament and he was watching when the Pacers forward’s tibia and fibia shattered in a Team USA basketball scrimmage.
“I never thought I would see something like that,” he told Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal on Saturday. “It was definitely some shock, and it sent chills through my body. I didn’t even know what to do or what to think, so I just had to walk out of the room. I asked somebody, ‘Did that just happen?’ I was out of the room for 10 minutes like, ‘Did that really happen?’ And I saw him down on the stretcher and was just like, ‘Oh, my God.’”
Ware told Himmelsbach and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that it took a bit for the shock to wear off and the realization that he was badly hurt to set in. In fact, he told “SportsCenter,” it happened en route to the hospital.
“Once your adrenaline goes back to normal, the actual breaking-your-leg pain starts to kick in,” he said. “The bumps in the road, you’re feeling that your leg is actually broken. It’s really hard to deal with. They put me on medication right away and even with the medication, it was tough, just thinking in my head, ‘Oh, no, the leg is broken. What’s next?’”
Ware rated the pain at about an eight on a 1-10 scale, calling it “nothing like I’ve ever experienced before, no pain in the world.” He underwent surgery similar to George’s and returned, briefly, for the Cardinals in a November 2013 exhibition about seven months later. He reinjured his leg in December and announced his intention to transfer to Georgia State last spring. Now, he says he’s “110 percent” healthy.
“The biggest thing is just blocking out everybody knowing you as the guy who broke your leg,” he told ESPN. “That’s one of the reasons I left the University of Louisville and decided to come home to play basketball. It’s easier to focus now and all I’m focused on is just playing basketball for Georgia State.”
He has no doubts that George will be fine.
“I’m not as strong, as tough as Paul George,” he said, “but he’ll be fine. It’s going to take time and patience, but as long as he’s praying and keeping up positive spirits, he’ll be fine.”
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