John Wall and Paul George both entered the NBA in 2010 as top 10 picks. The All-Stars battled as opponents during the Eastern Conference semifinals and joined as teammates this summer for Team USA. The point guard and the small forward also developed a friendship over the years, a fact that made watching George suffer a serious leg injury during a recent scrimmage all the more upsetting for Wall.
"It was devastating. You never want to see that especially a guy who’s been like a brother to me off the court, that I’m cool with, hang out with a lot go down like that," Wall told CSNwashington on Saturday at his foundation's "Back2School" event.
George underwent surgery on Aug. 2 after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg. Though the Pacers believe their sleek star will make a full recovery, George is expected to miss the entire 2014-15 season. After consecutive trips the Eastern Conference Finals, Indiana will now struggle just to make the playoffs.
"He had a heck of a year," Wall said of George, who led Indiana to 4-2 playoffs series win over Washington this season. "He just signed an extension. The Pacers were on the right track to get to the (NBA) finals and now it’s a setback for them."
The gruesome nature of the injury freaked out viewers -- and at least some team owners about the idea of their high-end and highly paid players competing in international competitions.
For the players, turning scared about suffering their own broken bones or torn ligaments is not an option. Those daring drives, those aerial maneuvers require nerve. Kevin Durant cited rest for why he withdrew from Team USA and not George's injury. All the remaining players still with the team are still with the team.
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Wall and Wizards teammate Bradley Beal were cut from the Team USA roster last week, a topic the point guard recently addressed. That's the only reason Wall isn't with the team heading into this weekend's next training camp in Chicago.
Asked if he considered leaving the squad following George's injury, Wall said, "No because basketball has many types of injuries. I’ve seen a lot injuries happen in the game basketball. It’s something that happens. This time just the worst, a freak accident. It’s something that happens.
"God has a plan for everything he puts you through. Hopefully it leads to a bigger comeback for Paul. All you can do is look forward. If you keep thinking about (getting hurt) you can’t play this season then."