It was a routine fast break play that turned painfully wrong.
During a Team USA scrimmage game on Friday, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George was chasing Houston Rockets guard James Harden, when he jumped up in attempt to block Harden’s shot from behind, and landed awkwardly at the base of the basket. George’s leg bent sideways and snapped in one of the most horrific freak accidents in pro basketball. Warning: It’ll make you shriek and wince. It’s reeeaally tough to watch — so tough, in fact, we’ll only link to Sports Illustrated’s report on the injury.
George’s injury — a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula — ended the game early. It also produced an enormous outpour of support for the All-star.
Players who have experienced gruesome leg injuries— former Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware (shin) and Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (knee) chimed in with positive tweets.
Minor setback for a major comeback PG.— Kevin Ware (@5Juice) August 2, 2014
I know people are in shock from Paul George's injury. He will be able to bounce back bc he has a warrior mentality.— Shaun Livingston (@ShaunLivingston) August 2, 2014
George heard from some of the league’s top stars, too. Steph Curry, LeBron, and DWade all sent get-well messages to the George through Twitter after they heard (or saw) the news:
Pray for PG and his family! Pray for the Doctors overseeing his recovery and that he comes back stronger than before. #USA— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) August 2, 2014
Man just landed and got a message about @Paul_George24. Made me immediately sick to my stomach!! Praying for u a speedy recovery homie!!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 2, 2014
Praying for @Paul_George24 for not only the player he is but the person he is. Injuries are thee toughest part of sports— DWade (@DwyaneWade) August 2, 2014
LeBron even created a collage of images of the two on-court adversaries together:
All the messages of encouragement and concern show just how highly regarded and respected George is around the league. The support is also a display of good sportsmanship — these guys may be foes on the hardwood from November to June, but they don’t want to see anyone hurt. And definitely not like that.
While George had successful surgery over the weekend, his timetable for recovering and return is not known. There is a possibility he could be sidelined for the entire 2014-15 season, which would be a major blow to the Pacers, the league, and the game. George is one of the NBA's best two-way players with dynamic versatility, and he’s fun to watch.
For now, PG is in healing mode. Here’s hoping these messages of support lift his spirits on his road to recovery.
Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I'll be ok and be back better than ever!!! Love y'all!! #YoungTrece— Paul George (@Paul_George24) August 2, 2014
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images