Team USA and Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said players can't let an injury such as Paul George's affect they way they play. Hayward wrote on his website that the risk of injury is "something you (can't) think about."
Hayward writes that the risk of injury is "something you (can't) think about," and that players are more likely to be hurt when they play tentatively for fear of injury.
There is risk wherever you are. During the offseason, guys play pick-up games all the time where they could get hurt. The only time I’m ever cautious is if I’m playing somewhere where I don’t know everybody playing, and somebody is trying to prove something, or do something that would hurt me.
But in a situation like Paul’s, where everybody is just trying to compete and guys aren’t trying to hurt anybody else, sometimes things happen, and there’s nothing you can do about that. I just wish him a speedy recovery and can’t wait to see him back out there playing again soon.
George sustained a compound fracture to his right leg during Team USA's showcase intrasquad scrimmage earlier this month, putting him out for the FIBA World Cup and likely the entire 2014-15 NBA season. He's expected to make a full recovery.
Team USA announced Thursday it will wear a patch honoring George during its pre-World Cup exhibition games.
Hayward, 24, has played four NBA seasons, all with the Jazz. He averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game last season, all of which were career highs. A restricted free agent this offseason, Hayward will return to Utah after the Jazz matched the Charlotte Hornets' maximum offer sheet.
Team USA plays its first of four exhibitions Saturday against Brazil. The World Cup begins Aug. 30 in Spain.
- Ben Estes