LAS VEGAS -- The Team USA showcase came to a gruesome and unfortunate end Saturday night, when Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George suffered what appeared to be a serious right leg injury in the fourth quarter and the game was subsequently called off.
As George flew down the floor in pursuit of opposing player James Harden, he slid into the base behind the basket and his leg wrenched in such a way that fans and players alike covered their eyes in disgust. It appeared to break just above his ankle. An official announcement of the injury has yet to be made.
"We don't really know, exactly (the extent of the injury),"said director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo. "Everyone saw what we saw, but that's for the medical team to decide, determine and then make the announcement about what it is and what's going to take place."
With players surrounding George and the crowd at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center nearly silent, George was taken out on a stretcher to loud applause.
George's parents were in attendance and came to the court as he was being attended to by the medical personnel. George was taken to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Las Vegas with his parents and Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard.
"He appeared quite stoic (as the medical team was attending to him)," said Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski. "They allowed his father to touch him and to comfort him. I thought our trainers did a good job right away making sure that emotionally he was as good as possible."
Minutes later, Krzyzewski addressed the crowd moments later, announcing that the scrimmage would be cut short out of respect for George and his family.
"This is a very tough blow," Colangelo said. "It's a first for us in USA basketball to have something like this take place. It's a tough situation for our entire organization, oru coaches and palyers are very, very emotional. There's now ay the game could have gone on under the circumstances.
"We need to just take a step back before we do anytihng at all. Our first concern, our promary concern, is Paul George. I wnate to reach out to the Indiana Pacers oragnziation, I have a call into owner Herb Simon. This is a tough blow, not only for USA basketballbut for the Indniaan Pacers. And so, as an orgaization, we're just going to let a little bit of time go by here before we address rosters or any of that stuff. It seems unimportant."
The game ended with 9:33 left and the white team leading 81-71.
When the team got back to the locker room, "Jerry addressed (the players), and then I did," Krzyzewski said. "A very emotional setting. There's a brother hood in the NBA, and to me moments like this – a family or a brother hood shows its heart, shows its depth, and I though tthat's what our players showed during that time."
Colangelo and Krzyzewski continued to show the proper respect afterward, when they made it clear that they wouldn't be discussing the roster ramifications of George's absence. Team USA's talent pool was already without LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trailblazers), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs).
The USA coaching staff was hoping to reduce the 20-player pool to 14 or 15 players Saturday, but put off those plans after George's injury. They have to have the roster trimmed to 12 players before they open the tournament on Aug. 30.
"Everything is on hold right now, and it should be," Krzyzewski said. "It would be so inappropriate for us to talk about anything else when there's a serious injury like this."
Just after the injury occurred, Colangelo called Pacers owner Herb Simon to let him know what had happened.