Did Paul George suffer a concussion in the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Heat?
In the fourth quarter, Dwyane Wade kneed him in the head. George laid on the floor in pain, but he didn’t leave the game, finishing the contest while looking lost and playing poorly.
His description of the symptoms is, to say the least, troubling.
Scott Agness of Pacers.com:
That sounds an awful lot like a concussion. At minimum, it deserves further examination in accordance with the NBA’s concussion policy.
Concussions are rare in the NBA, but the Pacers should know how to proceed in these circumstances. George Hill suffered a concussion last year.
The NBA’s rules state:
If a player is suspected of having a concussion, or exhibits the signs or symptoms of concussion, they will be removed from participation and undergo evaluation by the medical staff in a quiet, distraction-free environment conducive to conducting a neurological evaluation.
Right off the bat, the Pacers violated that portion of the rule. There is no way the bench during a playoff game is “a quiet, distraction-free environment.”
The NBA should investigate the Pacers – and punish anyone responsible for failing to meet the league’s standards. That could be Frank Vogel, trainers, doctors and/or even George himself (though I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to a player who just took a blow to the head).
Concussions matter. They can affect players for years to come, and suffering one drastically increases the risks of suffering another – especially when playing before the first has subsided. The NBA’s guidelines are helpful, and they should be followed.
According the league’s concussion rules, the Pacers and George aren’t out of the woods now. They no longer have any plausible deniability of not knowing George “is suspected of having a concussion.” That means they must still clear George again before the can play him. And if he’s diagnosed with a concussion, there are a series of tests he must pass before playing again.
George’s and the Pacers’ description of events raises a lot of questions. They’ll need to answer them.