Paul George‘s horrific and devastating leg injury from Team USA’s scrimmage last Friday has raised a lot of questions about the future of international basketball and whether or not NBA stars should participate, but for now, those questions will have to wait another summer. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, the United States’ current 19-man roster is still all in for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
George suffered a compound fracture in his right leg contesting a James Harden layup. He landed awkwardly on the basket’s stanchion and instant replay confirmed the stomach-turning injury was on par with Shaun Livingston, Kevin Ware and Joe Theismann’s brutally memorable injuries. The nationally televised scrimmage was called to a close following George’s injury with everyone on Team USA visibly shaken.
No matter where you stand on the issue of whether or not star NBA players should risk their health and energy participating in Team USA activities over the summer, this year’s batch of elite NBA talent will remain intact and try to bring home the United States’ fifth gold medal in FIBA World Cup history (which would tie USA with Yugoslavia for the most all-time).
However, it seems the number of final roster spots may be in question now. The original final roster was supposed to have only 12 spots, but following George’s injury it now appears Team USA could be bringing more players, possibly in a sign of solidarity:
Players staying in as show of support for Paul George. USAB officials, meanwhile, still deliberating on how many players to take to Chicago
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 4, 2014
With George out, Team USA is left with Kevin Durant, Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver at the small forward position. George’s absence is more devastating from an emotional standpoint than it is to Team USA’s chances of bringing home the gold, but a tragic injury like this in an intersquad scrimmage has brought the Americans together.
Stein reported Team USA is expected to make anywhere from three to five cuts. The discussion of whether Team USA should continue using star NBA players is one worth having, but for this summer at least, the Americans won’t let a freak injury dissuade anyone from dropping out.