Stephen Curry was sitting on the bench on the opposite side of the court when it happened, his squad having just subbed out.
“It was one of those plays that just didn’t have a good feeling from the start,” Curry said on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “Obviously, hindsight (is 20/20), but he went up for the block. I didn’t actually see the break happen. I just saw his reaction, the way he (looked) on the floor. That’s when that initial kind of shock comes over everybody in the gym. You can only imagine what’s going through his mind. It was just tough, a tough night. Thankfully the prognosis is good for his full recovery. That’s all you can ask for.”
As you’ve probably surmised, Curry is referring to the compound fracture that Paul George suffered in a Team USA scrimmage last Friday in Las Vegas. George, who was trying to block a shot by James Harden in transition, will miss the entire 2014-15 NBA season.
Sadly, head coach Mike Krzyzewski had told the players before the scrimmage to keep it in perspective; after all, this wasn’t the NBA Finals.
“Oh yeah, they definitely told us that before the game,” Curry said. “It is a scrimmage, we’re trying to stay as healthy as possible before we get to Spain, and if there’s somebody ahead of you, let them go. Paul made a decision. He felt like he was right there and could make a play on the ball without putting himself in jeopardy. It’s such a freak thing. I’ve actually never seen anybody land where he landed on the stanchion. For him to have any kind of thought like that going through his mind wouldn’t have happened. He decided to go up for the block, almost got it, fouled James and you know the rest.”
George’s injury has ignited a contentious debate about international basketball and the NBA’s involvement in it. Curry, who has a history of ankle injuries, does not know whether he will play for Team USA in the future.
“I honestly can say I haven’t thought about future years,” he said. “I can only think about the here and now. Immediately when I saw Paul George go down, I did have some bad memories of my injuries and surgeries. Obviously this is a whole lot worse. We hope that he’s going to make a full recovery. But whenever you see that, your whole injury history comes up.”
“Anytime we play basketball, that’s a risk we take,” Curry continued. “We’re committed. We’re going to go out and win the gold for Paul and do our thing over in Spain. But I haven’t really thought about two years from now. I guess everybody has to make a decision based on where they are when that time comes. It’s hard to kind of put yourself two years ahead from now.”
George can probably the same, albeit for different reasons. If he needs inspiration for recovery, though, he need look no further than Derrick Rose, who has undergone multiple knee surgeries since his 2011 MVP season but appears in top form this summer.
“He’s as explosive as I remember before he had all these injuries,” Curry said. “(He’s doing things now that) he was doing (during) his MVP year. He’s a monster. He’s just a guy that’s always ready to attack. You give him some space and he still feels like he has a step on you just (because) of how fast he can get to where he wants to go. I feel like he’s confident mentally and physically with what he’s doing.”