Reggie Sits Down With PG
Editor's Note: Pacers legend Reggie Miller interviewed Paul George and Larry Bird about Paul's injury and recovery for NBA TV.
Reggie Miller: Paul, it’s been a little over a month and a half since the leg injury, number one, how are you feeling?
Paul George: I’m feeling good. You know, this is probably still a tough time just because all the guys that are starting to show up at this point in the season, for the most part, were looking forward to this year to play alongside with me. And to not be out there with those guys, it’s a reality check at this point.
Larry Bird: In losing Paul, that’s a different story. I think our goals are not set as high as last year, but we are going to compete. We’re going to put a team out there that plays together, plays hard.
Miller: Everything I’ve read (says the injury) was a clean break. Which means what?
George: Full recovery. I just did, actually, an x-ray three or four days ago, and everything was going fine. Through that x-ray, they could see that the bone is starting to form again. But the only thing that I needed to do, because I was on the two crutches, is put a little more weight down on (the right) side.
Bird: It’s no different than Chicago losing Derrick Rose. You go through these things.
George: So that’s all good. I could start to feel the numbness and soreness going down. So everything is starting to come (so) that I know that my leg is healing.
Miller: If you can take us back to Aug. 1 (the night of the injury), it looked like it was a routine play. And then, what happens?
George: I just remember going up, trying to make a play on the ball. I just came down and my leg was on fire. I was in a crazy amount of pain for like the first five minutes. The whole crowd took a gasp. And then the trainers came over, rushed over, as well as my teammates.
But the person that really helped me was the (Oklahoma City) Thunder’s trainer (Joe Sharpe). I tried to get up almost like in a sit-up position to look at my leg, and he pushed me back down and told me, ‘Everything’s going to be okay. Don’t look at it. You broke your leg, but you’re going to get through it. Just stay strong.’
Miller: Going forward, a couple years, Paul's healthy, can you see him playing in Brazil on the Olympic team?
Bird: I hope so. That's one of his goals. He wants to play for Team USA. I think that any kid that gets the opportunity to do that and they want to play for their country, they should have that opportunity. And I think Paul will be there in Brazil.
George: Absolutely. I think for me now, it's redeeming.
Miller: You talked about the frustration of being injured, possibly for the whole year. What will Paul George be doing other than rehabbing to kind of stay engaged with these guys?
George: The last thing I want to do is feel like I'm not a part of this team and take myself out of still prepping and getting ready for games. I still wanna go about, you know, game days the same way as if I was playing.
Miller: Talking about your team, Roy Hibbert had a great first half of the year, but after the All-Star break, a lot of inconsistency, especially in the Playoffs. I saw a picture of him working with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Is this a chance for Roy to step up and kind of spread his wings a little bit?
George: He has a chance to cement being one of the best bigs to play this game. Offensively, he's skilled. Everybody knows he's skilled, he's just gotta be, ya know, aggressive and defensively, he's probably one of the best to ever do it.
Reggie (to Bird): Is it more confidence with Roy sometimes?
Bird: I think it's all confidence. If he loses confidence, it's harder for him to get back than most guys.
George: So, this is a great opportunity for Roy. He can really steamroll for when I come back healthy. You know, he can really steamroll this team.
Reggie: Recently, you were kind of called to the principal's office because of some tweets about the Ray Rice situation. Do you care to kind of expand on that a little bit?
George: Yeah, I was just trying to support the Rice family. It didn't come out the way I wanted it to come out. The reason is why the whole 140 characters is tough. But that was a learning lesson. To talk to Larry (Bird) about that, you know, it was a father-son conversation. Basically just telling me, you know, you gotta be careful with what you say. The media is always going to be your friend, but you know, you never want to give them fuel or give them something to attack you on.
Miller: When you do come back, the landscape of the Eastern Conference will have changed.
George: I'm looking forward to when I come back. I love battles, I love going against LeBron, Carmelo, and even going against the whole Bulls. It's fun. It's what you live for, the reason why you wanna be in the league. It's where you make your name off of, so I like the battles.