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Basketball: Pacers star George suffers major leg injury

Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered an apparently severe lower right leg injury on Friday (Aug 2) during the United States intra-squad scrimmage in preparation for the Basketball World Cup.

LAS VEGAS: Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered an apparently severe lower right leg injury on Friday (Aug 2) during the United States intra-squad scrimmage in preparation for the Basketball World Cup.

The injury was bad enough that the exhibition at the Thomas and Mack Centre was immediately halted and George was quickly hospitalised. George landed and his leg buckled horribly near the basket stanchion after he had fouled James Harden on a drive early in the fourth quarter.

Harden immediately doubled over in shock upon seeing the injury to his US team-mate and medical personnel, US coach Mike Krzyzewski and members of George's family attending the game moved to comfort the stricken player.

"With the serious injury that we had and the fact that we stopped playing for a long period of time, and out of respect for Paul and his family, the scrimmage is done," Krzyzewski told the crowd.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo did not immediately confirm the exact nature of the injury, but just said the organisation's only concern at the moment was for the player.

"This is a very tough blow," a grim-faced Colangelo said at a news conference. "It's a first for us in USA basketball to have something like this take place. It's a tough situation for our entire organisation, our coaches and players are very, very emotional. There's no way the game could have gone on under the circumstances."

Colangelo said decisions about the final US selection for the Basketball World Cup, to be held in Spain on August 30-September 14, would take a back seat to making sure George was cared for properly.

"Our first concern, our primary concern, is Paul George," he said. "I want to reach out to the Indiana Pacers organisation. I have a call into owner Herb Simon. This is a tough blow, not only for USA Basketball but for the Indiana Pacers. And so, as an organisation, 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."

George, 24, has been an All-Star each of the last two years. The small forward averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 80 games last season for the Pacers, who lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.

Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said the team was monitoring the situation.

"We are aware of the injury sustained by Paul George in Friday Night's Team USA game in Las Vegas and we are obviously greatly concerned," Bird said in a statement. "At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with Paul. We are still gathering details and will have an updated statement on Saturday."

Players on the court with George were visibly shaken and none of them spoke to the media. However, Houston Rockets guard Harden was among George's NBA colleagues to use Twitter to wish the injured player well.

"Prayers go out to Paul George and his family!" Harden tweeted. "Keep ya head up G!"

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