In case you missed Team USA’s excursion to Spain for the FIBA World Cup of basketball this past summer, there’s just one piece of news you really need to know: Paul George’s leg almost fell off.
No, this is not hyperbole. The rising Indiana Pacers superstar — arguably the very best perimeter defender in the game, and certainly a most majestic dunker — landed at an awkward angle while contesting a shot in a pre-tournament scrimmage between USA players in Las Vegas this August. His sudden, gruesome, existentially jarring injury made for one of the most disturbing live television sights of recent memory.
George, most assumed, would miss a season or more while he waited, essentially, for his body to reintegrate one of its limbs. But it’s not yet been three months since that horrific accident, and George is somehow already back shooting jumpers in the gym. Look:
He’s even playing some with his doggy, showing some mobility with that leg:
Fortunately for the rest of the league, there’s no shortage of ballers who can stick a man better than Paul’s pup. But it’s clear that the star is back on the rise a lot quicker than we expected. He's recovering rapidly, eager to keep disrupting the power balance of LeBron James’ Eastern Conference.
While injured, George has fully adopted his occasional nickname “PG-13,” changing his jersey number from 24 to 13 — an idea previously floated by ESPN and Grantland’s Bill Simmons. George explained the decision to Vigilant Sports: “The whole thing behind PG-13 is just coming into my own. I feel like I’m at that stage where I’m ready to embrace everything that comes with being one of the young stars in this league. Everyone knows PG-13 is related to television, so the whole thing is being able to enjoy the show and being fun to watch.”
— John Wilmes