Coach K: ‘Brotherhood Shows Its Heart’

National Team members unite for Paul George after the fall he sustained in Friday’s Team USA exhibition.

By: Steven Wilson

by Steven Wilson
Writer, Digital

A packed house fell silent inside Thomas & Mack Center on Friday night in the fourth quarter of Team USA’s intrasquad exhibition. 

Paul George – who participated for Team Blue – gave chase on a breakaway to Team White’s James Harden. After trying to strip the ball, the Indiana Pacers’ guard landed awkwardly and suffered a right-leg injury. 

USA medical staff soon tended to George as players from both the White and Blue squads came together in a large huddle of unity at midcourt.  

As the All-Star was taken off the court with a brace on his leg, National Team officials announced the game’s conclusion.

“This is a very tough blow,” said Managing Director Jerry Colangelo. 

“It’s a first for us in USA Basketball to have something like this take place. It’s a tough situation for our entire organization, our coaches and our players.”

“The main thing [said in the huddle] was just concern for Paul,” added Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. “We as a coaching staff just told them to relax [because] we felt at that point that we should not go forward.”

After the two groups headed to the locker room, Coach K addressed the team.

“It was a very emotional setting – there’s a brotherhood in the NBA,” said Team USA’s leader. “To me, in moments like this, a family or a brotherhood shows its heart, it shows its depth – I thought that’s what our players showed during that time.”

Team USA officials did not want to speculate on the injury, citing a formal announcement will be made public at a later date.

“Our first concern, our primary concern, is Paul George,” stated Colangelo. “Our whole focus is the best care we can get for him and we pray for his recovery and his family.”

Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, who tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes, shared heartfelt encouragement for his teammate.

“Prayers [go out] to Paul George and his family, stay strong brother,” Tweeted Cousins.

As an organization, the Kings joined USA Basketball and Cousins in expressing its support for George.

“On behalf of the team, our thoughts are with Paul George, his family and the Pacers. Wishing Paul a successful recovery.”

At 9:09 p.m., George took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the flood of positive messages.

“Thanks everybody for the love and support.. I’ll be OK and be back better than ever!!! Love ya’ll!!”

With 2014 FIBA World Cup play not slated to begin until the end of August, Colangelo said Team USA roster decisions would be considered at a later date.

“As an organization, we’re going to let a little bit of time go by before we address anything like rosters and all of that stuff,” he said. “It seems so unimportant in the scheme of things. When you have something like this take place, it puts things in perspective.”