Each time Team USA is brought up, Paul George’s gruesome injury rings through the mental rolodex of many. Not only was it a catastrophic fluke injury, but it forced one of the best up-and-coming players in the NBA to miss out on an excellent basketball experience. Fortunately, George has been guaranteed a roster spot for the Rio 2016 Olympics as promised by Jerry Colangelo meaning this would be the last international play George will be forced to miss.
Team USA will keep Paul George on the roster for the 2016 Olympics and is looking into options for a salute when the World Cup begins in later this month, even if it means pushing for a change in international rules, the managing director of USA Basketball said.
While dismissing the possibility of the ultimate tribute of keeping George on the active roster for Spain and letting him likely win a medal without playing, saying each of the 12 spots are too valuable, especially with the United States thin on the front court, Jerry Colangelo said there are plans to make sure the injured star is a visible presence in Spain. Wanting to add to George’s motivation during the comeback from a broken right leg, Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski have also already made it clear to the Pacers small forward that he is expected to be in the lineup in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Injury or not, George was going to be with Team USA come the summer of 2016. There’s no guarantee that LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony will participate as they increase in age, meaning George and Kevin Durant are next up in terms of small forwards. Durant brings the offensive prowess while George’s defensive tenacity is exactly what that group will need, regardless of who else is on the roster.
Hopefully George is able to return to the player he was prior to breaking his leg–a MVP candidate and All-NBA talent who could well average 20-5-5 through the remainder of his basketball prime.