The Indiana Pacers have had a bumpy offseason thus far. They were bounced out of the playoffs without reaching the NBA finals, something that they themselves envisioned playing in. After the disappointing playoff run, the focus was how would Larry Bird handle the Lance Stephenson saga.
Stephenson, who led the NBA in triple doubles last year, became a household name for all the wrong reasons. He was talked about of every news network because of his on court antics with Lebron James. Stephenson tried to get into the head of James, he even went as far as blowing in his ear.
These antics were frowned upon in Indiana, and Bird was not pleased. He said time and time again that he wanted to keep Lance at all costs. However, the two sides hit an impasse and now they are left with no Stephenson. He has taken his talents to the Charlotte Hornets, overseen by none other than Michael Jordan.
The Pacers tried to save face by signing CJ Miles, who can only hope to replace the talent that was Stephenson. All seemed good given the circumstances, until tonight. The best player on the Pacers team, Paul George, suited up to play for Team USA.
George, a perennial All-Star, has thrusted himself into the top tier conversation in the NBA. After a thunderous dunk that shook Miami, James gave George a competitive handshake saying he had arrived. George plays every possession hard and gives 100 percent. He is one of a very few collection of players who many consider a two-way player.
Unfortunately for George, his hard playing style has turned his bright and promising future into a cloud of question marks. George hustled down court to contest a simple lay up by James Harden. As Harden jumped, George did the same. One player came down in typical routine, the other came down on the stanchion of the court.
George was that player, whose injury is reminiscent of Louisville guard Kevin Ware, as his leg seemingly snapped in two. The entire gym fell silent, much like it did when Ware hurt his leg. Players like Kevin Durant were visibly distraught as they watched their brother try to stay calm during the most trying of times.
The foundation of the Pacers organization seems to be teetering, as they have now lost their two best players to a contract dispute and gruesome injury. At his best is, George is considered a top-15 player when he is on top of his game. Now he must embark on the journey of recovery, and the front office of the Pacers is now faced with a unique situation. The Pacers season could very well have ended before training camp even started.
A silver lining that will surely be talked about in the days to come will be what many owners and coaches have been vying for, for quite some time. The cluttered baseline is something that many feel needs to be cleaned up. The camera men are so close to the action, often having first-hand contact with these million dollar athletes time and time again.
The stanchion, that many view as a hazard to players, will be brought up in the days to come. Many want the whole baseline cleaned up and the court to be suspended in air to save players from such injuries. It will be interesting to see what comes of these talks, as the whole world witnessed a freak injury during a simple scrimmage.