In the hours and days following Game 2 between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat, there has been rampant discussion about what took place, both from a strategic standpoint and surrounding the diagnosed concussion for Pacers star Paul George. When asked about George’s concussion after practice on Thursday, four-time NBA MVP LeBron James had some interesting things to say on George’s decision to continue playing.
Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk brings the report on LeBron’s comments:
“I think every last player in the Final Four would have played through it,” James said. “This is the conference finals, and obviously, a concussion is very serious. Our concussion test is not as extensive as the NFL. It doesn’t happen as much. I think all of us would have played through it under the circumstances.”
That doesn’t make it right, but LeBron wasn’t alone in this line of thinking. David West similarly said that it might be difficult for a player to be completely honest in terms of his symptoms if he wants to stay in the game.
“I think sometimes it is [difficult],” West said. “You want to play. Particularly if you know if it’s an ankle or something like that. If you tighten the shoe up or whatever, you’re able to get through. And with the time of year it is. But you’ve got to stick to the protocol, and you’ve got to do what’s best for yourself long term.”
“You have to let the team know and the doctors know, the trainers know when you have symptoms,” Pacers big man Roy Hibbert said. “You have to think about your longevity as a human being before just the game. He has the right people around him and the organization is behind him, so whenever he’s ready to go, he’ll be back.”
It is quite easy to see both sides of the argument with regard to George’s choice to fight through his symptoms. First, there has been a long-established culture of “playing through pain” in sports, and while a concussion is certainly a different ball game, a player could easily justify his continued participation on that premise.
On the other hand, Roy Hibbert’s comments are spot-on in that George would have been extremely justified in pulling himself out of the game, and his “longevity as a human” (Hibbert’s words) comes first. In the aftermath of the game, George was limited in practice on Thursday, but fortunately for the Pacers and George himself, Game 3 will not take place until Saturday night in Miami.
It will be interesting to see what type of effect this issue has on the series, but at the very least, it has kickstarted some discussion.