How Paul George avoided serious injury: Expert medical analysis on sprained knee of Clippers star

Paul George and the LA Clippers breathe a sigh of relief after avoiding a major setback.

George apparently sustained a knee injury in the Clippers’ loss to The Thunder on March 21. As he headed up to the rebound, an accidental contact by Thunder Guardian Luguentz Dort resulted in George’s right knee being cruelly hyperextended, immediately fueling speculation of serious structural damage.

While initially reports stated that there was “real concern” that George’s injury was serious, according to Imaging revealed no structural damage outside of a sprained knee that would be evaluated in two to three weeks.

Given the harrowing visual nature of George’s injury, it came as a welcome surprise that he could potentially return for LA’s playoff run.

To better understand how George avoided a major setback, The Sporting News turned to Dr. Michael S. George of Houston’s KSF Orthopedic Center, who analyzed the Clippers forward’s injury and potential concerns for the future.

MORE: The latest news on Paul George’s knee injury

Medical expert analysis on Paul George

What is Paul George’s injury?

“Paul George suffered a hyperextension knee injury in the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The knee is reportedly sprained with no rupture of ligaments and will likely not require surgery.

“Hyperextension of the knee injuries are known to cause tears in the anterior cruciate ligament and/or posterior cruciate ligament, particularly when the injury has a rotational component. He can count himself lucky to have avoided a serious injury in this case.”

What Causes a Serious Knee Injury?

“Several factors can affect the amount of damage caused by hyperextension, including the magnitude and direction of the force applied and the flexibility of that particular athlete’s knee.”

Is that a common prognosis for an injury like George’s?

“This injury closely resembles Giannis Antetokounmpo’s knee injury in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals. Giannis was able to recover from this injury in time to play and win the NBA Finals.

“Despite the gruesome nature of Paul George’s injury, if there is no structural damage then he too is expected to return once the swelling and pain has subsided without long-term sequelae.”

Paul George describes a knee injury

In Episode 4 of George’s Podcast P podcast, he detailed the “freak accident,” describing what led to the injury, how he felt in the moments immediately following, and why he didn’t credit Luguentz Dort for his role power in the game.

I got the rebound, right? And I see [Dort] Swipe to try and get the ball, but it’s outside of his rebound zone. I’ve got the ball. I come down and I feel his knee hit mine and then I immediately felt my leg just recede, so automatically I dropped the ball…

Lu There competes fiercely. It was honestly just wild play on his part. I had the ball, it was done by me – basically it would still have been contact. So he didn’t want to avoid me. He tried to do a rebound and just flew at me. And the way it hit me, my knee didn’t have a chance to break my fall, so my leg just got stuck. And when he hit me, my leg went backwards – the only way my leg could have gone was backwards.

It was like that pain where you just like, you just close your eyes like ‘damn, when will it stop?’ It throbbed, it hurt, and the only thing going through my head was, ‘I hope I didn’t scratch myself badly. I couldn’t walk – I tried to put pressure on it. I tried to carry it off the pitch and then they had to carry me. But then when I got back into the dressing room, I felt the pain go away, so I was like, ‘Oh, maybe it’s not that bad.’

I don’t think what he did was malicious – he wasn’t trying to hurt me, he just plays hard, he can get wild at times, but he’s a hard worker, he plays hard, tries, extra possessions to get it, I don’t know t knock him out for the competition. It was just a crazy accident.

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