George's scary injury not a first for Plumlee

August, 6, 2014
8/06/14
7:40
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Nobody should have to witness a horrifying injury like the one Paul George suffered Friday.

Mason Plumlee, though, has seen something like that happen twice now.

The Nets big man saw Louisville’s Kevin Ware break his leg in unbearable fashion during his final game at Duke in the NCAA regional final in 2013.

“So now me and Coach K, we’ve seen that twice,” Plumlee said of himself and Duke and USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. “That’s crazy, right?”

[+] EnlargeMason Plumlee
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesMason Plumlee's desire to play for Team USA overrides any fear of injury.
George broke his leg when he attempted to block a shot during the Team USA intrasquad exhibition in Las Vegas. Players immediately knew how bad the injury was after George landed into the basket stanchion.

“If I saw it 10 times, my stomach is still gonna twist,” Plumlee said at the Nets practice facility on Wednesday. “You just feel terrible for the person. You just have to pray for them, for a quick recovery, that they come back to full strength. You never want to see that happen to anybody.”

George’s injury -- the most significant to an American player since Team USA started using pros in 1992 -- has sparked debate about whether pros should risk playing in international competition.

“It is just really a difficult situation,” Knicks general manager Steve Mills said in a conference call on Wednesday. “I have been around USA Basketball and the NBA participation since ‘92 when we had the first set of guys that made up the first Dream Team.

“Guys can get hurt playing any place,” Mills continued. “The one thing that guys are going to do is they are going to play basketball. So it is unfortunate that the injury took place and I feel terrible for Paul and the Pacers but this is part of basketball. Guys can get hurt when they are not playing.”

Plumlee agreed and has no reservations about playing for Team USA.

“No hesitation,” Plumlee said. “I would say it’s a freak accident. Like Kevin Ware’s thing -- he didn’t step on the [stanchion] of the basket. He was out on the court. It’s a freak thing. You can’t overreact to it.”

The Nets’ second-year big man has made it down to the final 16 players on the roster. Coach K will trim that down to the 12-man roster he will take to compete in the World Cup of Basketball in Spain in late August.

The chance to play for Team USA overrides any fear of suffering a serious injury for Plumlee.

“Like [USA Basketball chairman Jerry] Colangelo said, they’ve never had something like this happen with USA,” Plumlee said. “The opportunity to represent your country should be paramount to the possibility of injury.”
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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