The Pacers announced Wednesday that All-Star forward Paul George suffered a concussion after taking a knee to the back of the head from Heat guard Dwyane Wade during Miami's 87-83 road victory over Indiana in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday.
George must now enter the NBA's concussion protocol, which requires a player be symptom-free and cleared by an independent doctor before he can return to the court. Game 3 between the Pacers and Heat is set for Saturday in Miami.
With a little under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Indiana leading 73-69, Wade lost his handle on the ball as George hounded him in the left corner. George dove to the court in an attempt to corral the loose ball, and Wade fell over the top of George as he awkwardly attempted to make a play on the ball.
As Wade fell over George, his left knee and right leg made contact with the back of George's head. Both players were shaken up on the play, and George lay face down on the court for some time. The Pacers subsequently took a timeout and both players eventually remained in the game, although George initially appeared to still be a bit out of it.
“I blacked out as soon as it happened and then … however much time was remaining, I was just blurry," George said.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Tuesday night that he did not believe George's injury was serious and that George was cleared to return to the court.
"I do not [have an update]," Vogel said. "The only information I got during the game was that he was good to go."
Pacers.com reported Tuesday night that George "answered all of the questions" necessary to complete the NBA's concussion protocol and that the only symptom he reported was "pain in the back of the head."
In a press release Wednesday, the Pacers stated that 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" immediately after the play. That, and the fact that George was "active and aware of his surroundings," led the Pacers' medical staff to conclude George did not sustain a concussion on the play.
The Pacers further stated that they conducted a full concussion test after George told reporters that he "blacked out" during the play, a statement that he hadn't made to the team's doctors. That test, the Pacers said, did not reveal any "active symptoms."
George then underwent further testing on Wednesday, when a neurologist diagnosed George with a concussion "based on his post-game reporting that he had briefly lost consciousness during the game."
Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the NBA's concussion program director, said that the Pacers followed the league's protocol in treating George, even though he was allowed to continue playing after the incident.
"The Indiana Pacers medical team followed the NBA concussion protocol and there was no indication of concussion during the game," Kutcher said in a statement. "This case illustrates that concussion evaluation is an ongoing process and manifestations of the injury may not always present immediately.”
The series is now tied at one game apiece.
George, 24, is averaging a team-high 21.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 42.5 percent during the playoffs. Video via YouTube user hardwoodparoxysm14