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Indiana Pacers' Paul George gestures after hitting a 3-point shot during the second half of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Eric Walden: A hard conversation about the breaks of the game
First Published Aug 02 2014 04:05 pm • Last Updated Aug 02 2014 11:10 pm

Seeing Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George break his leg Friday night in a Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas was … well, gruesome. No other word for it. It rivaled Kevin Ware’s broken leg in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

It rivaled Shaun Livingston tearing pretty much everything in his left knee in an NBA game in 2007.

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The videos of those respective injuries can be hard to watch.

And George’s injury, occurring in a meaningless "Showcase" exhibition, will likely lead to hard questions about the continued usage of NBA players for national team duty.

How might such a conversation go? (For the sake of clarity, quotes followed by an asterisk were actually made in real life; everything else is made up by me.)

Paul George • "[Expletive!] [Expletive!] [Expletive!] That really hurts!"

Pacers owner Herb Simon • "[Expletive!] [Expletive!] [Expletive!] That really hurts … seeing my $90 million player incur an NBA season-ending injury in a non-NBA game."

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban • "If you look up stupid in the dictionary, you see a picture of the USA Dream Team playing for free for corporate America so the U.S. Olympic Committee can make billions of dollars."*

Simon • "Mark … not now, please."

Cuban • "Look, Herb, I’m with you. I had Rodrigue Beaubois break his foot playing for France in 2010. And Dirk Nowitzki injured his knee in 2012 after playing for Germany. How many other NBA players have gotten hurt on national team duty?"


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Bulls PF Pau Gasol • "I broke my foot playing for Spain in 2006."

Spurs SG Manu Ginobili • "I hurt my ankle playing for Argentina in 2008."

Spurs PG Tony Parker • "I hurt my knee playing for France in 2013."

Cuban • "Exactly. And how many guys pulled out from playing for Team USA in the last two weeks so they didn’t take a chance getting injured?"

Clippers PF Blake Griffin • "Well, I found out I was already injured."

Blazers PF LaMarcus Aldridge • "I did."

Wolves PF Kevin Love • "I did … kind of. Trade situation and all that."

Spurs SF Kawhi Leonard • "I did … maybe because Pop ‘suggested’ I should, maybe because of Manu and Tony."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich • "One could probably just look at my face, or at the comments I’ve made in the past — that I’m not making now — and you can glean from that how happy I am about some of the guys playing in the summertime."*

Cuban • "So, we’re all in agreement, then? No more using NBA players for national team play?"

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski • "No, Mark, we’re not all in agreement on this."

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