George comes full circle with strong USA return


Two years after suffering what could have been a career-ending injury, Paul George's basketball journey came full circle on Friday.

The Indiana Pacers star made his return to international basketball competition in the United States' 111-74 win over Argentina in Las Vegas ahead of next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It was an emotional night for George, who broke his right leg in Las Vegas on August 1, 2014 during USA's inter-squad scrimmage prior to the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

"I was a little eerie about stepping on this Vegas floor," George told NBA TV after the game. "God blessed me and gave me a second chance."

George's injury took place down the road at the Thomas & Mack Center, but it was still played in the same city where his career could have ended. 

"Once I put that jersey back on, the nervousness really just went away," he said.

"Really just focused my whole mindset on coming out here, playing well, doing the right things and doing what I need to do to get this win."

George definitely did his part, scoring 18 points off the bench, including 10 in the first quarter.

That is not surprising, given that George returned to an All-Star level in the NBA this season, averaging a career-high 23.1 points while leading the Pacers back to the playoffs. 

Still, George admitted putting on the red, white and blue brought on another set of emotions for him before the game.

"It was a lot of emotions, I'm not gonna lie," George said, "but the guys in the locker room did a great job of, you know, making sure I was good."

Nearly two years after that fateful day, George appears to be better than ever.