Paul George Wallpaper

George Ready to Move Past His Injury

Paul George WallpaperWhat was supposed to be a showcase for Team USA as it prepared its journey to the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Tournament in Spain quickly became a gruesome scene.

Early in the fourth quarter of the team’s initial scrimmage,  as James Harden sprinted towards the basket for a layup, Paul George chased him down and tried to deflect the shot attempt.

As he landed to the ground, his foot collided with the basket stanchion, resulting in an open tibia-fibula fracture, an injury that forced him to miss eight months and limited him to the final six games of the season.

Exactly 12 months after suffering the injury, George returns to the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, hoping to secure one of the 12 roster spots for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Thomas and Mack Center — home of the UNLV Rebels — has moved back the stanchions in an effort to prevent a similar injury from occurring.

George vowed to comeback stronger after injury, a lofty goal for one of the most promising players in the league.

Paul George launches a jump shot for Team USA
A year after breaking his leg, Paul George returns to the same court to try and land a place on the 2016 Team USA Olympic roster.

In his six appearances last season, the 6-foot-9 forward was limited to just 15 minutes a game, as he struggled to find his shot.

The player on the floor for Indiana at the end of the season wasn’t reminiscent of the same player that nearly dethroned LeBron James in the 2013 and 2014 Eastern Conference finals.

During his limited time on the floor in 2015 George, converted 18-of-49 attempts from the field (36.7 percent) as he totaled twice as many turnovers as assists.

Indiana’s offense slumped dramatically when he was on the floor, as the team averaged 87 points during 100 possessions, well below the 103.5 points it averaged during the season.

Despite the struggles on offense with George on the floor, the Pacers won five of their final six games but still fell short of qualifying for the post season.

It was clear the 10th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft wasn’t fully healthy, but he wanted to help provide the team a lift during the final two weeks of the season.

Twelve months after breaking his leg, George claims he still isn’t fully healthy, but it’s difficult to tell, especially following his dunking display in the Philippines.

A fully healthy George will be difficult for coach Mike Krzyzewski to cut from his final Olympic team.

The three-day mini-camp runs from Aug. 11-13 and features a scrimmage on the final day. The United States initially issued 41 invitations, but only 34 players announced their intentions to travel to Las Vegas.

Attendance at the event next week is mandatory to be considered for a roster spot on the team traveling to Brazil next summer.

George is one of eight small forwards at the event, with James, Carmelo AnthonyKawhi LeonardTobias Harris, Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons.

Pacers forward Paul George with a reverse dunk in transition.
Paul George scored the ninth most total points (1,737) when he was fully healthy in 2013-14.

During his last two full seasons, the former Fresno State star was able to secure a place on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, along with a nomination to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2013-14, playing small forward.

Only next season, Indiana’s front office anticipates George to spend a significant amount of time lining up at power forward.

The team intends on playing at a faster pace, and the team that nearly toppled Miami twice in the Eastern Conference finals in two of the past three seasons has drastically changed.

Roy Hibbert was dealt to the Lakers for a future second round draft pick and David West took an $11 million cut in his salary to join San Antonio.

The team has an obvious void at the power forward position, leading to the appointment of George to play the position.

No matter where he lines up, George has been able to provide an impact on both ends of the floor.

The last time he was fully healthy, the 25-year-old averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

The right leg of George is finally ready for the task of playing basketball on an everyday basis.

Now he must prove on the same court where the injury occurred that he is ready to move onto the next portion of his career.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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