Indiana Pacers’ Forward Paul George Breaks Leg, Out for Season


Aug 1, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Team USA guard Paul George is carted off the floor on a gurney after suffering a lower leg injury during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Teammates doubled over in horror  as Indiana Pacers’ forward Paul George crumpled to the court after fracturing his right leg during a scrimmage with Team USA in Las Vegas on Friday night.  Back home in Indiana, and in Cincinnati where the Pacers enjoy a strong following, hopes for the 2014-15 NBA season began to vaporize as the news of George’s gruesome injury and dark prognosis sank in.  According to’s Brian Windhorst, George suffered a tibia-fibula fracture that will likely keep him off the court all season — maybe longer.

While George faces a long rehab and uncertainty about his long-term future, the hard fact is that the Indiana Pacers suddenly find themselves in dire straits.  Team president Larry Bird has built his club around George, and every hope the Pacers had for hanging with the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, revitalized Chicago Bulls, and rebuilt Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference revolved around a healthy and improving George.

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Center Roy Hibbert is entering his later 20s and has shown time and again that he can’t be relied upon as a team leader.  Volatile guard Lance Stephenson has the potential to be a superstar, and he had Bird’s support, but the Pacers let him get away in free agency.   George Hill is a local product and engenders warm feelings in the Indy fan base, but he can’t carry a team, and forward David West has a lot of miles on his legs, though he is a solid leader.

Given all of this, where do the Pacers turn for help in their quest to remain relevant in 2014-15?   They might have had a ready-made answer in swingman Evan Turner, acquired in the midseason trade that jettisoned Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers, but Indiana plopped Turner on the bench and then let him walk in free agency.

Do the Pacers try to pick up some veteran (i.e., ancient) pieces from the remaining free agent list?    Or do they try to swing some sort of trade to help pick up the pieces?   Indiana did nothing in the 2014 NBA Draft other than sell their overall number 57 pick, so there is no young help on the horizon, either.

Right now, there don’t appear to be many good options available to Bird, but the rest of the summer and fall will tell the story of what the Pacers can do in terms of piecing together their roster for 2014-15.  Perhaps their best option is to just run with the team they have at this moment and make the best of it until they know more about what the future holds for Paul George.

For George, a young superstar just entering his prime, hopefully there will be good news down line.