By Angel L. Quiles Jr
Indiana Pacer superstar Paul George suffered a barbaric open tibia-fibula fracture of his lower right league, during a U.S. national team scrimmage game in Las Vegas, Nevada last night. The injury to George considered a top five player in the league, happened 27 seconds into the fourth quarter of a game that was meaningless. Now George’s upcoming season appears to be over, and maybe his career. Which begs the question, why was George in the game to begin with? And who is to blame for this horrible situation?
Head Coach of the U.S. men’s national team Mike Krzyzewski, is on the bad end of the finger pointing from Pacer fans. It is not Mike’s fault that George suffered an ill fate. However, a star of his quality that was definitely going to make the team, and possibly be the headliner, should not have been in the game in the fourth quarter. Regardless of how close or exciting the game was.
Owner Jerry Colangelo of the Indiana Pacers, and president of basketball operations for the Pacers Larry Bird, may also be taking some heat. Why was their franchise player and heart and soul of their team par taking in this game? Why didn’t they tell the coach only have him play the first half of the game? Why didn’t they tell George not to join the U.S. national team because of the value he has to the Pacer organization? Maybe they did all of those things, and the parties in question didn’t want to adhere to their advice. All that is known, George is gone, like the Justin Timberlake song, and the Pacers are going to be hard pressed to find someone to replace him.
The media should be questioned for causing this injury as well. We hyped this game up, and it made it a big deal for fans starving for basketball. In turn making players feel pressure to put on a good show. Therefore, increasing their intensity levels and desire to show off.
George is an unbelievable player. One of his biggest assets is his play on defense, and he was hurt trying to put that defensive prowess on display. Something he may not have done if the flow of the game was more laid back like in the NBA all-star game.
All in all, freak accidents happen in sports and players unfortunately get hurt. The intensity shown in that U.S.A. scrimmage game was a bit over the top like Sylvester Stallone, and should have been toned down. Respect has to be given to the players for taking their craft seriously. However, moving forward players need to realize that the real enemies are the countries that they will face. No longer should there be inklings to play 100 percent in scrimmage games in order to prove your excellence. Not in this forum, and not against your countrymen who know how great you are already.