Paul George suffered what was later diagnosed as a concussion after taking a knee to the head from Dwyane Wade midway through the fourth quarter of Miami’s Game 2 win over the Pacers.
George’s status is questionable for Saturday’s Game 3, as he’ll have to pass a series of tests before he’s medically cleared to return to action.
He probably shouldn’t have finished Game 2, but without notifying the team’s medical staff of any particular symptoms, there was no reason for Indiana to sit George down. LeBron James understands completely, and said after Thursday’s practice that he believes everyone playing at this stage of the postseason would have attempted to play through the injury that George had sustained.
“I think every last player in the Final Four would have played through it,” James said. “This is the conference finals, and obviously, a concussion is very serious. Our concussion test is not as extensive as the NFL. It doesn’t happen as much. I think all of us would have played through it under the circumstances.”
That doesn’t make it right, but LeBron wasn’t alone in this line of thinking. David West similarly said that it might be difficult for a player to be completely honest in terms of his symptoms if he wants to stay in the game.
“I think sometimes it is [difficult],” West said. “You want to play. Particularly if you know if it’s an ankle or something like that. If you tighten the shoe up or whatever, you’re able to get through. And with the time of year it is. But you’ve got to stick to the protocol, and you’ve got to do what’s best for yourself long term.”
“You have to let the team know and the doctors know, the trainers know when you have symptoms,” Pacers big man Roy Hibbert said. “You have to think about your longevity as a human being before just the game. He has the right people around him and the organization is behind him, so whenever he’s ready to go, he’ll be back.”
Players will almost always continue to play through an injury if they’re at all physically able to do so. But teams and their medical personnel need to be more tuned-in to a player following an injury to prevent their competitive spirit from causing further, potentially irreparable damage.