KTB Is Watchin: Paul George
Warning: The footage below is extremely graphic.
Paul George is projected to miss the full season after breaking his leg during a horrifying scene at the USA Basketball scrimmage last week. George averaged 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Pacers last year. He was named an All-Star for the second time in his career and was named First Team All-Defense.
The Indiana Pacers can apply for a $5.3 million salary cap exception to help the team replace the injured star. The Disabled Player Exception is written into the league’s CBA as a way of helping teams ease the loss of a player who suffered a season-ending injury.
There is no way the Pacers can replace a player of George’s caliber with the injury exception, but it should help Indiana add another piece in free agency. The Lance Stephenson loss in free agency to the Charlotte Hornets looms even larger now.
The open tibia-fibula fracture suffered by George (and Louisville guard Kevin Ware) usually happens in motor vehicle accidents and falls from great distance. This type of injury comes from force against the bone at the wrong angle. But hospitals will see a couple a month, and bigger hospitals will see even a couple a week.
The stanchion support for the basket was closer than NBA regulations, but this was a freak injury. Infection is the biggest concern as the wound needs to be cleared before doctors can insert a rod into the bone to stabilize it. The rod usually stays in permanently unless it’s causing pain, locked in with screws.
The bone has to heal before any major rehab can be done, and that takes six to 10 weeks typically. But it’s not the important area. It’s difficult to put a time frame on the healing process of the muscle without actually doing the operation (I am not a doctor though I play one on the internet). But though George is expected to be out for the season, that could be sped up or slowed down based on how the muscle heals while the bone is healing and before he can start doing much rehab. The biggest issue is not the healing of the bone itself, but the soft tissue around the bone.
It often takes until the player’s second season back on the leg for them to regain full confidence. Nonetheless, unless something goes wrong in George’s rehab, he should return to form.