Team USA guard Paul George is carted off the floor on a gurney after suffering a lower leg injury during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Photo by Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Pacers star Paul George said Friday the horrific broken leg he suffered in a Team USA training game hasn't turned him off competing for his country.
"I plan on making a full recovery coming back from this," George said at a press conference, his first meeting with the media since the injury occurred two weeks ago.
"I'm taking this in a positive way. I get to sit back and watch the game, and just learn."
George said he wouldn't rule out the possibility he could return to NBA action before the end of the upcoming season, although there's no timeline for his comeback.
"I understand there might be a possibility that I won't be back this year," he said. "I'm very aware of that. But if I do have the opportunity to make a comeback (this season), I look forward to it."
The 24-year-old suffered an open fracture of the tibia and fibula in his right leg in the training game in Las Vegas -- an injury so severe that it left his fellow players on the US squad stunned.
"It felt like gasoline was on my leg and someone lit a match," he said. "When I looked down and saw my bone sticking out, I knew it was bad."
The injury sparked debate over whether NBA stars should risk their health playing for the United States, with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban renewing his attack on the policy.
But with the 2016 Rio Olympics looming into view, George said he was eager to play for his country again and said the criticism USA Basketball had received was "unfair."
"Freak accidents happen," said George, whose leg was broken when it was trapped against the basket stanchion as he battled for the ball. "They don't deserve any criticism for this.
"I would still like to be a part of USA Basketball in 2016. At the end of the day it's all about representing our country and bringing home the gold."
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