Many called it a scary situation. Others have called it a good explanation for his subpar play. Regardless of what side of the fence people are on, when Dwayne Wade accidentally kneed Paul George to the back of the head during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals, it put the Indiana Pacers season on shaky ground. It now has been reported that Pacers guard Paul George has sustained a concussion due to the collision. As such, it is possible that the All-Star may miss at least the next game in the series.
Unlike other injuries in the NBA, the concussion policy is a complicated one. Players are not permitted to play until they have passed several tests, otherwise known as the NBA concussion protocol. These tests will ensure that the player does not have blurred vision, headaches or various other concussion symptoms. Another reason why the NBA has put these steps in place is that once a player has been damaged with a concussion, he may very well be vulnerable to a second one, which may have further debilitating effects.
In order for George to play again in this series, there are four steps that the All-Star must go through that increases in physical intensity. If he is unable to pass any of the tests, the process will stop until the next testing period where he will start the process from the beginning. These steps include riding a stationary bike, jogging, agility exercises and participating in team drills of no contact.
Concussions are a rare occurrence in the NBA. George is only the tenth player this season to fall victim to one. Unfortunately, history does not bode well for George in terms of potential time off. During the season, the minimum amount of days a player missed was five, but could be longer. Nikola Vucevic, for instance, was missing from his squad for over 20 days. In the playoffs, a blow of this nature could be disastrous.
This is not new to the Pacers though. Ironically, last year during the second round series against the New York Knicks, Pacers point guard Geroge Hill also had a concussion. Luckily for Hill, he only was removed from the series for one game. However, this instance could be longer. One aspect that is concerning is that George, despite league policy rules, played after the incident. The reason why he participated is that he was checked out at courtside, opposed to the typical manner of being checked in a quiet, exclusive room. As such, they were unable to detect a concussion at the time.
What makes this blow considerably more damaging is that Paul George is, arguably, the Pacers best player. He is their top scorer at 21.7 ppg, while also averaging 6.8 rpg, 3.5 apg and 1.9 spg. Because of what George brings to the team, if he misses even a single game, it could handcuff the Pacers squad, which has had more than its fair share of troubles. Losing him would knock out their top scoring threat and one of their best defensive players. The fact of the matter is, he is the glue that holds the Pacers team together and if he cannot play, it will be a tall task for Indiana to beat Miami. Even if he misses the one game, the Pacers would be down 2-1 in the series. This would make it so that following Game Three, the Pacers would have to win three of four.
The Indiana Pacers have been on quite the emotional roller coaster this season, from losing their top spot in the NBA, to the decline and resurgence of Roy Hibbert and being on the brink of elimination in the first round of the playoffs. They have shown a remarkable turnaround in these playoffs, but if their star player, Paul George, is unable to play the next game or so, it may spell the end of their season.
Commentary by Simon Mounsey