Published: Tue, June 28, 2016
Sport | By Scott Davis

Paul George Selected To USA Men's Basketball Team Four Years After Gruesome Injury

Paul George Selected To USA Men's Basketball Team Four Years After Gruesome Injury

On Sunday, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George was selected to the USA Men’s basketball team that will represent the country at the Olympics in Brazil. While some of the biggest names in the NBA like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and James Harden won’t be playing in Brazil this summer, George and his teammates are still basketball expert picks to win the Gold Medal.

Being selected to the Men’s basketball team is a big deal for George, who suffered a gruesome leg injury while playing for the USA national team while they were preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London.

At the time of the injury, there was speculation that George might never play in the NBA again, which would have also meant he would never get to play for the USA men’s basketball team again.

George said it felt like someone had set his leg on fire when he suffered the injury. At the time, the 24-year-old was emerging as one of the most promising players in the league, but the injury cast some doubt on his future. 

Now that he has fully recovered from the injury, Paul credits it for helping him become more mature, which helped him work his way back to being one of the best players in the NBA.

Paul George also said coming off the bench for the final six games of the 2014 season, which were his first games since returning from the injury, helped him become a smarter basketball player.

George said before the injury, he relied mostly on his instincts, but sitting out the precious sitting and most of the 2014 season helped him become a student of the game. Being away from the game allowed George to sit back and watch what was going on. 

Sitting out also allowed George to work on his shooting, ball handling, and upper body strength. Today, George calls the injury a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to focus on other parts of his game that he normally wouldn’t have.

George also credits fatherhood for helping him become a more mature person and player. George said having a daughter allowed him to be more patient than he had in the past. 

The 2015 season, which was George’s first season back from injury was impressive and uneven at the same time. George averaged 23.1 points, 7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.9 steals, and 3.3 turnovers per game, and shot 42 percent from the field.

While the numbers he put up were impressive, he had stretched during the season in which he didn’t play as well as was expected of him. Despite the inconsistencies he showed during the season, George helped his team make the playoffs and saved his best performance for the postseason.

The Pacers eventually lost to the Toronto Raptors during the playoffs, but George stepped his game up and helped his team take the Raptors the full seven games in the series.

Paul George averaged 27.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 steals during the playoffs. He also improved his shooting percentage in the playoffs, making 45 percent of his shots and 42 percent from 3-point range.

After his performance during the season, and what he went through to get back on the basketball court, Paul George is going to relish the chance to win a Gold Medal in Brazil.

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