The gruesome injury that Paul George suffered in a Team USA scrimmage Friday night shocked and rattled the NBA stars who are his teammates and triggered a debate about the value of these summer tournaments, but, at least for this year, the games will go on.
“No one is pulling out,” an unnamed source told ESPN.com.
Nineteen players are vying for 12 spots on Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team, which will compete in the FIBA World Cup team later this month. “No one [on] this team wants to walk away because that would seem unfair to Paul,” an unnamed general manager told Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein. “If there is any fallout from this injury, it may not be felt until the next time invites [for Team USA] go out.”
The players still are reeling after George suffered a compound fracture of his lower leg after catching it on the stanchion. “I’ve never been in a situation like that where someone goes down that hard,” Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse coach who is a Team USA assistant, said on “Mike and Mike.” “This is a very, very difficult thing. It’s not something where you can just say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re gonna get back together and go.’
“I think it’s gonna take us a few days to get back together and get the team back together.”
The injury, which may sideline George for the entire NBA season, is expected to generate at least a conversation about the value of the tournaments, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. Although a “major shift is unlikely,” he said in a statement to ESPN that the topic will merit further discussion.
“Without a doubt, basketball has grown tremendously since 1992, when NBA players began playing in the Olympics. Also, it’s important to note the [improvement] many of our players have made in terms of ability, leadership and passion for the game by playing for their home countries. Injuries can happen any place at any time. The experiences our players have enjoyed by participating in their national teams, however, are ones that are unique and special in almost every other way. At this point, I don’t anticipate a major shift in the NBA’s participation in international competitions.
”It seems clear, however, that this will be a topic at our next NBA competition committee meeting in September and our board of governors meeting in October. And, of course, we will continue to evaluate the pros and cons of participating in international tournaments.”