May 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) lays on the floor after an apparent injury as his teammates guard George Hill (3), Lance Stephenson (1) and center Roy HIbbert (33) gather around to see if he is okay against the Miami Heat center in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Miami defeats Indiana 87-83. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Confirmed: Paul George Did Suffer Concussion in Game 2; Status for Game 3 in Limbo

As speculated after Paul George said that he “blacked out” during Game 3 and played the rest of the game “blurry,” the Pacers medical staff has determined that he did suffer a concussion.

The team released the following statement.

Tuesday night, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George took a knee to the back of his head during the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals game against Miami. Immediately after the play, George exhibited no symptoms of a concussion and, in response to questions from the Pacers’ medical staff, he denied dizziness, nausea, and issues with his vision.  He was also active and aware of his surroundings.  As a result, the Indiana medical staff did not suspect a concussion.

Following the game, George stated for the first time that he “blacked out” on the play. As a result of this statement, the team conducted the NBA-mandated concussion assessment, which did not reveal any active symptoms of concussion.

Because of the statement and Indiana’s ongoing evaluation and management of potential concussions, George underwent further testing and evaluation Wednesday morning. He has been diagnosed by the team’s consulting neurologist with a concussion, based on his post-game reporting that he had briefly lost consciousness during the game. He will begin the NBA-mandated protocol for return-to-participation after a diagnosed concussion.

Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, Director of the NBA Concussion Program, has been in contact with the team medical staff and stated, “The Indiana Pacers medical team followed the NBA concussion protocol and there was no indication of concussion during the game.  This case illustrates that concussion evaluation is an ongoing process and manifestations of the injury may not always present immediately.”

Obviously, the Pacers are trying to get in front of any backlash that could (and already has) come their way for allowing a guy to continue to play basketball after suffering head trauma. Some people watching were claiming at the time, on Twitter, that PG didn’t look right out there after he took the hit.

Still, the process is the process, and the Pacers say their doctors went through the due diligence after the incident. George didn’t exhibit symptoms at that time, according to the team.

Regardless of what has already happened, this means that George now must go through the league-mandated concussion protocol tests before he can play again.

Here is the relevant part of the protocol that George must now go through.

Return-to Participation Decisions:

  • Once a player is diagnosed with a concussion he is then held out of all activity until he is symptom-free at rest and until he has no appreciable difference from his baseline neurological exam and his baseline score on the computerized cognitive assessment test.
  • The concussed player may not return to participation until he is asymptomatic at rest and has successfully completed the NBA concussion return-to-participation exertion protocol.

Return-to Participation Protocol:

  • The return to participation protocol involves several steps of increasing exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.
  • With each step, a player must be symptom free to move to the next step. If a player is not symptom free after a step, he stops until he is symptom free and begins again at the previous step of the protocol (i.e., the last step he passed without any symptoms).
  • While the final return-to participation decision is to be made by the player’s team physician, the team physician must discuss the return-to-participation process and decision with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the Director of the NBA’s Concussion Program, prior to the player being cleared for full participation in NBA Basketball.
  • It’s important to note that there is no timeframe to complete the protocol. Each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.

The most important thing here is obviously Paul George’s long-term mental health, not basketball.

Hopefully for the Pacers, George will be ready in time for Game 3 — which fortunately for them isn’t until Saturday — but a full recovery on any timeline is the ultimate goal everyone should be hoping for.

Tags: Indiana Pacers Paul George

  • Brandon Burton

    I hope he is ready by game 3, but more importantly, that he recovers without any complications.

  • Jack Wright

    this is silly

    • Jack Wright

      should’ve kept his mouth shut after the game

      • Zack

        That’s not how this works. As a fan you can be upset that PG got hurt and has to go through the process before he is able to return to play (purely as a fan), but as a human being, you need to understand how important these concussion protocol is. It is there to protect the players from themselves. If he isn’t healthy enough to play by Saturday, he sure as hell shouldn’t be playing. Period.

        • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

          So he should have said something during the game…..

          • Zack

            That’s pretty obvious, but this happens all the time with professional athletes (mostly in football). They want to play and help their team win, so they don’t say anything during the game.

          • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

            ok. I just found it odd that you were advocating how important the concussion protocol is but failed to address that George failed to follow it.

          • Zack

            Obviously in a perfect world, all pro athletes would say when something is wrong. But of course that doesn’t happen. Everyone knows that.

        • Jack Wright

          Please. Isn’t healthy enough? The dude is fine. This isn’t Lala Land, this is real life.

  • Ian

    and yet somehow, that wasn’t a foul

    • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

      Heat fan here. Agree it should have been a foul, but those loose ball scrums go uncalled all the time. Remember that in the first round Kendrick Perkins literally used Mike Miller as a chair and sat on him to keep him out of the play after a loose ball.

      No call.

      • Pentax Shooter

        That’s different, though, because that did not involve a change in possession. In this case, Wade was trying to ensure that George did not maintain possession of the ball after the steal. Wade’s one of those sneaky-dirty players.

        Notice that while George is laying face-down and near-motionless, Mike Breen’s call is “Wade’s hurt!”

        • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

          The point stands that fouls don’t get called in those situations like they should be. I’m not disagreeing that Wade fouled him. I’m just disagreeing that precedent should lead you to expect that call.

          • Pentax Shooter

            I have little doubt that if LeBron or Wade (or Kobe, for that matter) were on the receiving end, a foul would have been called. It’s not the fault of the players, it’s a part of the NBA “star system”.

          • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

            I disagree. Your premise requires supposing that George isn’t considered a star and does not frequently receive a friendly whistle. Neither of those conditions are true.

          • Pentax Shooter

            My premise is based on watching the game for 30 years. There are stars, and there are mega-stars. George isn’t there yet, if he ever will be.

          • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

            George is primarily a jump shooter that is a poor finisher at the rim. Nevertheless he attempted more free throws per game than players like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, John Wall, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tony Parker. Immediately above him in the standings are Zach Randolph and Lamarcus Aldridge, two dominating post players.

            He also attempted more free throws per game than Dwyane Wade, the guy with a more aggressive style of scoring who you seem to think gets all the calls that George doesn’t.

            “I watch basketball” is not a convincing argument in the face of numbers.