Friday night was the unofficial start of Team USA's journey to the FIBA Basketball World Cup tournament, which tips off August 30th in Spain.
A scrimmage at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas began as the Derrick Rose show, as the oft-injured Bulls point guard continued to, well, play basketball in a competitive environment without hurting himself. At this point, every time he takes flight, we just hold our breath until his landing.
Perhaps this was not the best way to watch the scrimmage. Because early in the fourth quarter, the game – which did not matter to begin with – receded to the background, when Pacers star Paul George suffered an absolutely horrific and possibly career-changing injury.
George's Injury Sparks an International Outcry
We're not going to show you videos or images of George's injury, but know it was the very definition of gruesome. After leaping to contest a fast-break layup by James Harden, George's right leg crashed into the stanchion that supported the backboard and he instantly crumpled to the floor in agony. The Pacers' star, who was set to begin playing on a new five-year, $92 million contract extension, suffered an open tibia-fibula fracture and had surgery over the weekend.
The ramifications of his injury are massive, and not just because we probably won't see George in a Pacers uniform this season.
Probable Paul George timetable: 3-4 months: cast. Walk: 6mos. Run: 9mos. Plyo:11mos. Bball activities: 12mos. Mental return? No timetable.— Tim S. Grover (@ATTACKATHLETICS) August 2, 2014
In the long term, the freak accident reignited a controversy about very premise of NBA teams allowing their players to be part of international competition.
And, as always, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is at the center of it all. Long an opponent of NBA stars playing in international tournaments, Cubes used George's injury to call out the International Olympic Committee, saying they put profit before player safety. Cuban thinks amateurs should play in international games, and would like to see the pros compete in a World Cup of Basketball organized by the players and owners of the league.
While we wait and see whether NBA stars will continue to represent their countries on the international stage, we wish George, who's only 24, a full recovery. It's never fun to see a player's career altered on a single play. Maybe in this case, it'll just be a brief detour on the road to superstardom.
The NFL Is (Technically) Back!
It's the start of August, so even though it was a preseason game, it was nice to turn on the television and see NFL players on a field doing football stuff.
On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants faced off in a rematch of Super Bowl XXV. OK, maybe we're playing it up just a tad. It was the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, one of those warm-up matches where you're getting acquainted with third-stringers and guys who won't be around by September in the fourth quarter.
If you care – and by that, we mean if you gambled on the game – the Giants won 17-13.
The play was choppy and the penalties were plentiful. But here's the one highlight worth watching, a 73-yard touchdown catch by Giants wide receiver Corey Washington in the fourth quarter:
So, yeah, football's back. Kinda.