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NBA Miami Heat

Paul George’s Injury Changes Eastern Conference for Miami Heat

August 2, 2014: Stephen R. Sylvanie; Paul George

Stephen R. Sylvanie- USA Today Sports

The gruesome lower right leg fracture that has seemingly ended Paul George’s season is extremely tragic, especially because it occurred during a routine scrimmage for Team USA. As a fan of the NBA, you never want to see a player, no matter his allegiance, suffer an injury that could change their respective career forever. An open tibia-fibula fracture will do just that.

With LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat, this was supposed to be the season another team finally represented the Eastern Conference. The Indiana Pacers had a really good chance at being one of those teams. Paul George’s season-ending injury has ended those aspirations. It now stands to reason that the Eastern Conference is wide open for the taking, with many teams bidding to scale the playoff ladder in hopes of making an NBA Finals appearance. Even with the loss of the greatest player on the planet, the Heat should still be considered heavy favorites to make it back to the NBA Finals, even if that means having to get through a LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers team.

Although this sounds callous, Paul George’s injury has taken the Pacers out of the conference-title conversation, which means one less roadblock for the Heat in their quest for a fifth straight Finals appearance. This is a very similar situation to what happened with Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. In 2011, they were a tough matchup for the Heat with Rose healthy, but as soon as he suffered his season ending injuries, the rivalry just wasn’t the same.

Here is to hoping Paul George makes a speedy recovery. Until then, the Pacers will struggle mightily without him, and open the door for other teams to ascend the ranks of the Eastern Conference. The Heat will be one of those teams taking advantage of the situation.

Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter @outofboundsjay, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google