It’s not something they often talk about, but professional athletes — NBA, NFL, Barclays Premier League, NHL, MLB, and so on — all know that every time they lace it up they could suffer a catastrophic injury. It’s part of the risk of sport. They block it out of their minds because they couldn’t play all out if they did, but they know it could happen.
And when it does happen to someone else they are shaken, but they move on.
That’s what happened with Paul George and Team USA — every other member of the squad was shaken, but nobody is dropping out. Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN have the details in a report.
Although there is undoubtedly heightened concern within the group after watching George suffer a horrendous compound leg fracture late in Friday night’s intrasquad scrimmage, sources told ESPN.com that various Team USA players have talked among themselves about the need to stay together, with showing support for George ranking as one of their primary motivations.
“No one is pulling out,” one source told ESPN.com this past weekend.
Added one general manager who has a player on the Team USA squad: “No one on this team wants to walk away because that would seem unfair to Paul. If there is any fallout from this injury, it may not be felt until the next time invites [for Team USA] go out.”
The next time is the more interesting question. Although, if Team USA wins the World Cup this summer (it will be them or Spain, a good team playing at home) the next time they have to form a squad would be for the 2016 Rio Olympics. A gold medal can be a big part of a legacy and for guys trying to promote their personal brand (and shoes) that is a huge international platform. As we discussed before, the Olympics may not see much attrition.
But the next World Cup or some event after that… then it gets interesting.
For now, the USA will miss George’s defense and scoring, but the USA is ridiculously deep at the guard spot and on the wing. The players will move on.